Songs for Married Lovers

INTERMEDIATE, ALL HARPS + VOICE Musical settings for harp and voice from well-known poets by the composer Carol Wood.




From the composer, Carol Wood:

“It’s rare and wonderful to encounter a poem or a song about being married for a long and happy time. This book is a collection of musical settings of some of those rare poems on happy marriages that I have encountered and treasured over the years.

There are some works by earlier poets here, such as John Donne, whose own happy marriage has always been famous. I am deeply grateful to the living poets who have given me permission to use such tender, personal, and sometimes very private poems in this collection.

The two fictional lovers in Dorothy Sayers’ mystery Gaudy Night aren’t yet married when they write the sonnet I’ve included here, but, as readers of Dorothy Sayers know, they will share a long and happy marriage. Following what she tells us about the vocal ranges of her lovers, Harriet Vane and Lord Peter Wimsey, I’ve scored the duet for alto and tenor. And since Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins plays a significant part in the final scenes of the novel (and in the courtship of the characters), my setting uses brief musical quotations from that work.

My own definition of marriage is a very liberal and non-traditional one. I hope performers will feel free to alter pronouns and raise or lower octaves, a piacere.

All of the accompaniments can be played on the keyboard or easily adapted for it, but the suggested fingerings will be of no help at all to any keyboard players. Harpists, please note that the system I follow here is that numbers beneath the notes indicate fingers of the left hand, and numbers above the notes are for the right hand.”

Table of Contents
Vocal solos with harp:
The Anniversary (John Donne)
In the End We Are All Light (Liz Rosenberg)
My Muse, Now Happy (Lady Mary Wroth)
All of Our Books (John Anderson)
A Marriage (R. S. Thomas)
Flute Score for “A Marriage”
The Catch (Richard Wilbur)
An Enzyme Poem for Suzanne (Paul Zimmer)
In a Little Room (Michael Palma)
Self‐Portrait after Stanley Spencer John Wood)
Vocal Duets with harp:
Sonnet from Gaudy Night (Dorothy Sayers)
Book Lice (Paul Fleischman)
The Weathers of Love, 1 (Paul Zimmer)
The Weathers of Love, 2 (Paul Zimmer)
Before I Even Noticed (Michael Palma)

Review of Songs for Married Lovers in the Bulletin of the Dorothy L. Sayers Society, July 2013

Carol Wood Sonnet from Gaudy Night

In her Songs for Married Lovers, Carol Wood has used poems ranging from John Donne to the present day, set for one or two voices with harp or piano accompaniment. Of particular interest to Society members is Wood’s setting of the Sonnet from Gaudy Night. This is a duet for alto and tenor written in an attractive and accessible style. For the most part the two voices sing one at a time, in dialogue, but they come together to telling effect at “As tension at the verberant core of music sleeps”. . . . . There’s charming ingenuity, too, as Wood incorporates – very aptly – the opening theme of Bach’s Double Violin Concerto.

Nigel Simeone

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