Two Sad Songs
Instrumentation: sop, string orchestra
Duration: 15 minutes
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There is not much to say about the music – it will speak for itself. But of the poetry, it is important to say that W.B. Yeats is, to my ear, by far the most musical of poets ever to write in the English language. English is not naturally a musical language, but somehow, whenever I read Yeats, the rhythms and sounds of the words always seem to me to call for music, and I have set many of his poems. The poems in “Two Sad Songs” seemed to be companion poems, expressing in different words a similar sentiment, although Yeats did not intend them as such. When you are Sad was published in 1892 in The Countess Kathleen and Various Legends and Lyrics and The Cloak, the Boat, and the Shoes was included in Yeats’ first published work, the 1889 Crossways.
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