Academic journal article Journal of Singing

The Future in My Hand

Academic journal article Journal of Singing

The Future in My Hand

Article excerpt

CYCLES AND SONGS

Cycles

EARNEST, JOHN DAVID (b. 1940). THE FUTURE IN MY HAND (Robert Bode) for Voice and Piano. E. C. Schirmer, 2008. Tonal; E[musical flat]^sub 4^-A[musical flat]^sub 6^; Tess: M-mH; regular meters with some changes; varied tempos; V/M-mD, P/M-mD; 7¾ minutes. Tenor.

The title of this cycle comes from the first line of the text of the third song: "I saw the future in my hand." It is a play on words that refers to the gypsy's reading of the future in the young man's hand as well as to the serious business in the second song ("Autumn") of autumn harvesting and the personal exploration of the agony and fear of what it means to be free. The future is both read in the hand and fashioned by the hand. The first poem, "At Dusk," sets a beautiful evening scene that deepens into a darkness that "fills the valley with her old slow song" with which she "sings the broken world to sleep." It is in this broken world that "our own hearts, too small or too full . . . tear at the edges and break toward the Sun," and in which the future is "not what I had planned."

The music for each poem captures the essence of the underlying emotion: a circling lyric reverie for "At Dusk," a relentless rhythmic figure over a repeated pedal tone that serves different images in "Autumn," and a "Lively and manic" eighth note motion to express the anxiety and rueful humor of "Villanelle. …

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