To a Friend

SSATB Chorus, a cappella  |  5'15"

About The Work

My setting of Pulitzer Prize winning poet Amy Lowell's "To A Friend" was written for Ellen Clayton and premiered by Baltimore Choral Arts Society in 2019. Ellen, the long-time choral manager of Baltimore Choral Arts represents all the characteristics that Lowell hopes remain true in her friend. Her compassion, commitment, integrity, empathy, grace, and work ethic are traits that (as Lowell suggests) often vanish, or exist only as an idealized image of the person. It is the rare, true friend that embodies the dream of the person Lowell imagines. Ellen Clayton is one of these rare individuals, and for that, To A Friend is fondly dedicated to her by me and Baltimore Choral Arts.

Performance Note

To A Friend may be performed independently or together with Fare Thee Well. When performed together, To A Friend should precede Fare Thee Well, and be performed without pause. If performed together, the works should be programmed as "To A Friend, Fare Thee Well" with each piece listed as follows:
To A Friend, Fare Thee Well
I. To A Friend
II. Fare Thee Well

Text: Amy Lowell

I ask but one thing of you, only one,
That always you will be my dream of you;
That never shall I wake to find untrue
All this I have believed and rested on,
Forever vanished, like a vision gone
Out into the night. Alas, how few
There are who strike in us a chord we knew
Existed, but so seldom heard its tone
We tremble at the half-forgotten sound.
The world is full of rude awakenings
And heaven-born castles shattered to the ground,
Yet still our human longing vainly clings
To a belief in beauty through all wrongs.
O stay your hand, and leave my heart its songs!
Amy Lowell

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