My Beloved

for unaccompanied solo voice; 3′ (2007)
poetry: the Bible

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composer’s note:

study-to-song-of-songs-iv-1958-4“My Beloved” was written for my brother-in-law’s wedding, to be sung by my wife. The wedding was in a beautiful old church with resonant acoustics, so I wanted to write something that would ring through the hall, and set an inviting mood for the ceremony. So in setting this excerpt from the Song of Songs, I modeled the melody after Irish folk tunes, to give the song a sense of simple love and folksy realness, rather than seeming too formal because of its biblical origin. The melody is highly ornamented throughout, giving it an improvisational feel to help it sound personal and direct. Overall, I sought to avoid the grandiose tradition of Bible settings, instead presenting a simply-sung song to share with loved ones.

score sample:
My Beloved