Across the Still Water (2022)
When my aunt Jan passed away from Alzheimer’s disease in 2015, I struggled to express and comprehend the complex emotions I was experiencing. I adored my aunt Jan – an absolutely loving and kind human - and watching her ever-so-slowly slip away because of this terrible disease was such a painful experience. I happened to find the poem Gone from My Sight by Luther F. Beecher while grieving, and it gave me hope that she was finally at peace. I have thought about this poem often, and when I realized I was going to compose my first vocal work for this concert, and have it sung by my dear friend Aaron S. Ricucci-Hill, I immediately knew I wanted to have this poem serve as the text.
I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side,
spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck
of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.
Then, someone at my side says, "There, she is gone."
Gone where? Gone from my sight. That is all.
She is just as large in mast, hull and spar as she was when she left my side.
And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port. Her diminished size is in me -- not in her.
And, just at the moment when someone says, "There, she is gone,"
there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices
ready to take up the glad shout, "Here she comes!"
And that is dying...
Duration: Approx. 6 minutes
Format: PDF Score (countertenor and piano)
World premiere performance can be heard here: soundcloud.com/ianlester-1/across-the-still-water-world-premiere-performance
Copyright © 2022 Ian Lester