Nocturne is a collection of three short pieces that share similar but different text, which conversely shares similar but different music. Nocturne took me almost a year to complete. I started the Nocturne October of 2016, and finished it September of 2017 with three complete movements, The Ocean, The Moon, and The Youthful Heart.
The text comes from a little known American poet named Frank E. Sawyer. I discovered the poetry of Sawyer from a little book called Notes and Half-notes that my girlfriend bought for me from a dollar book store. The book was visibly quite old, and surprised me when the publication year read “1896.” I had procured an original copy of a little-known book of poetry from an even more obscure poet. Someone who was seemingly lost to time.
The book’s text was all about music, with pieces named after works by great composers such as Beethoven, Wagner, Chopin, etc. I came across his work entitled Nocturne (Chopin) and was immediately intrigued. Being a pianist and having played nocturnes written by Chopin, it piqued my curiosity greatly. I ended up reading an incredibly inspiring and charming work and immediately fell in love with it. So began the long process of working through three different stanzas of one poem and turning them into three different movements of one piece. The text reads:
Murmur, Soft Winds
Over the slum’brous sea, whose velvet waves,
Wash with low lapping sound in rocky caves
Where dreaming mermaids rest,
Rocked on the ocean’s breast,
By white foam fingers caressed:
Murmur, Soft Winds!
Shine, Silver Moon,
Gleam through the branches of the ice-bound brook,
Which hides itself in many a forest nook,
Where first spring violets grow,
Blood purple on the snow,
So the heart of winter may know
That summer’s heart beats below:
Shine, Silver Moon!
Love, Youthful Heart,
Now, while thy halcyon days are long and bright,
Where ne’er a cloud bedims the glowing light;
The eager years rush on,
Life’s springtime soon is gone.
Love, Youthful Heart!
This piece is recommended for a higher intermediate to advanced ensemble.
To my friends in the 2017 ACDA National Honor Choir who helped me hear the music