About this work:
This is a setting of of a Sonnet by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861) for women's chorus and piano. I wrote it shortly after visiting an exhibit at the New York Public Library about the sonnet, where there were books on exhibit from their collection by many poets, as well as paintings and other supporting material. In the case with this Browning poem there was a hefty lock of her hair. I was at the exhibit with my daughter who at the time was a young teenager and was always having trouble getting her hair under control. Before noticing the poem I noticed that the color and texture of Browning's hair was very much like my daughter's hair.
Published by Seesaw Music, but not yet available in Subito Music's online listing. Please call Subito at (973) 857-3440 to order the music.
I never gave a lock of hair away
To a man, Dearest, except this to thee,
Which now upon my fingers thoughtfully,
I ring out to the full brown length and say
'Take it.' My day of youth went yesterday;
My hair no longer bounds to my foot's glee,
Nor plant I it from rose or myrtle-tree,
As girls do, any more: it only may
Now shade on two pale cheeks the mark of tears,
Taught drooping from the head that hangs aside
Through sorrow's trick. I thought the funeral-shears
Would take this first, but Love is justified,---
Take it thou,---finding pure, from all those years,
The kiss my mother left here when she died.
Year composed: 2003
Ensemble type: Chorus, with or without Solo Voices:Chorus with Keyboard
Instrumentation: 1 Piano, 1 S, 1 SS, 1 A