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"A Farewell"

for SATB choir and piano
Text by Frances Anne Kemble

Published with Oxford University Press 2018

Commissioned by Urbandale High School conducted by Ted Brimeyer for the 2016 NC ACDA Conference.

Program notes:

English poet Frances Ann Kemble (1809-1893) penned the poem An Entreaty as a description of leaving behind a beloved time and place. Children are often enchanted by nature, and the beauty and descriptive imagery in this poem returns us to our youth. The overall arc of the composition is based on lyrical lines and lush harmonies, while gentle dissonances and suspensions create a sense of yearning– for as often as we look on memories with happiness, we cannot deny the bittersweet truth of parting with simpler times and the loved ones of our past. This poem granted me a glimpse into my childhood of woodlands and wildflowers, and is an invitation for others to also reflect on "echoes sweet," and a time to which they have said farewell.

Once more, once more into the sunny fields
Oh, let me stray!
And drink the joy that young existence yields
On a bright, cloudless day.
Once more let me behold the summer sky,
With its blue eyes,
And join the wild wind's voice of melody,
As far and free it flies.
Once more, once more, oh let me stand and hear
The gushing spring,
As its bright drops fall starlike, fast and clear,
And in the sunshine sing.
Once more, oh let me list the soft sweet breeze
At evening mourn:
Let me, oh let me say farewell to these,
And to my task I gaily will return.
Oh, lovely earth! oh, blessed smiling sky!
Oh, music of the wood, the wave, the wind!
I do but linger till my ear and eye
Have traced ye on the tablets of my mind—

And then, fare ye well!
Bright hill and bosky dell,
Clear spring and haunted well,
Night-blowing flowers pale,
Smooth lawn and lonely vale,
Sleeping lakes and sparkling fountains,
Shadowy woods and sheltering mountains,
Flowery land and sunny sky,
And echo sweet, my playmate shy;
Fare ye well!—fare ye well!