Barlow Bradford Publishing

All My Songs For You

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Series: Signature Secular Series
Format: SSAA Choral Score
Accompaniment: Piano
Donald M. Skirvin
Text: Sara Teasdale
Performance time - ca. 12:00

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All My Songs for You is a meditation on various aspects of love in which each of the songs has a unique focus. These three works can also be performed separately or as pairs as needed. These poems by Sara Teasdale are included in her 1920 work, Flame and Shadow.

The first song, “A Net of Words,” explores the ineffability of love by adding a musical dimension that helps us understand what cannot fully be expressed in words alone. The music is rich, deep, and enveloping.

The second song, “Did You Never Know,” also explores inexpressible love but from a different perspective, that of unspoken and unrequited love. This movement is framed as a duet in which the two singers sing the same text but never exactly to each other. The spare accompaniment and haunted melodies leave us to contemplate that anxious and silent emptiness, too, is an aspect of love.

The third work, “In All My Songs,” gives voice to Teasdale’s epiphany that all her love poems would live on changelessly, even beyond life itself, as she writes: “It will live on in all my songs for you when I am gone.” The music is tonal with colorful harmonies, some jazz based.

A Net Of Words:

I made you many and many a song,
Yet never one told all you are—
It was as though a net of words
Were flung to catch a star;

It was as though I curved my hand
And dipped sea-water eagerly,
Only to find it lost the blue
Dark splendor of the sea.
—The Net

Did You Never Know:

Did you never know, long ago,
how much you loved me—
That your love would never lessen and never go?
You were young then, proud and fresh-hearted,
You were too young to know.
Fate is a wind, and red leaves fly before it
Far apart, far away in the gusty time of year—
Seldom we meet now,

but when I hear you speaking,
I know your secret, my dear, my dear.
—Did You Never Know

In All My Songs:

It will not change now
After so many years;
Life has not broken it
With parting or tears;
Death will not alter it,
It will live on
In all my songs for you
When I am gone.
—It Will Not Change