For lever or pedal harp.
Carol Wood has composed music for eight poems. She has arranged them for intermediate to advanced lever or pedal harpists, with voice or flute (or whistle). The harp parts are accompaniments, and can not be played as harp solos. Most of the pieces are in the key of C. Three pieces require F#s, and "When at Last I Join" has B-flats. Lever and pedal changes are indicated in the music. Lyrics and a few fingerings are included. The pieces are presented in score format, with the voice or instrument part and the harp part on the same page. You can see samples of the pieces below. This 42-page PDF includes 36 pages of music.
Here is Carol's introduction to this collection.
When I asked Stanton Hager for permission to set his beautiful translation of Li Bai's poem to music, he wrote to me that he imagined that setting a poem to music must be like another way of
translating the poem, and that idea stayed with me as the basis for this collection of songs. Art songs are most often sung in their original languages, but when composers don't understand the sounds of a language--such as ancient Greek, early Irish, or 8th century Chinese--they probably ought not try to set that language to music. In any case, it was the beauty of the translations of the poems that usually made me want to set them.
Two of the poems, "Proud Songsters" and "When at Last I Join" are original works in English, stunning works of art that I felt deeply compelled to set to music. However, though they are not translations, both poems arrestingly depict transformations--"translations" from one state to another, and therefore seem perfect for this collection.
The Sappho poems are not true translations of the works of that brilliant and enigmatic Greek poet, but rather three poems by Bliss Carman written in the style and spirit of Sappho, and on some of her favorite topics. Sappho II includes a part for flute; if pan pipes could be substituted, that would be wonderful.
The primary musical motif in "Proud Songsters" (first heard in the opening measures of the flute) is adapted from the song of the American wood thrush.
In "Endless Longing" I've used touches of the pentatonic scale to suggest the poem's Chinese origin.
The text of "The Mirabeau Bridge" is a translation by my son Dafydd of the famous "Le Pont Mirabeau" by Guillaume Apollinaire--an extremely beautiful and evocative translation, if I may be allowed a mother's right to say this.
"Hunters in the House" is best known by the title "Pangur Ban." This early Irish poem has been translated widely and wonderfully by poets such as Robin Flower, W. H. Auden (whose version was set to music by the great Samuel Barber), and Seamus Heaney. My husband, the poet John Wood, made this translation for me, since I wanted to be able to set the poem to music in a traditional Irish idiom. Since the Irish whistle is notated an octave below where it sounds, if a flute is substituted, it should be played an octave higher than written.
This product is a PDF file, to be downloaded to your computer. We do not sell it as regular printed music. It is only available here in this PDF download format.
Click on the blue titles below to see a sample of the first few lines of music.