Op. 40 – On the Grasshopper and Cricket

SATB Chorus, A Capella

I chose this text of John Keats for its beautiful opening line The poetry of Earth is never dead. The whole poem has a gentle atmosphere, celebrating the cycles of nature, and I hoped to capture some of that special atmosphere in the musical setting.

The whole composition employs a special harmonic system based on the 5-29 set which I frequently use in my compositions. This is the first work I have written from beginning to end in this system. Neither strictly tonal nor atonal, the music should sound to the listener as existing in an alternative tonal world.

On the Grasshopper and Cricket is scored for SATB chorus with frequent divisi into up to eight parts. A piano part, for rehearsal only, is included.

THE POETRY of earth is never dead:
When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead;
That is the Grasshopper’s—he takes the lead
In summer luxury,—he has never done
With his delights; for when tired out with fun
He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.
The poetry of earth is ceasing never:
On a lone winter evening, when the frost
Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills
The Cricket’s song, in warmth increasing ever,
And seems to one in drowsiness half lost,
The Grasshopper’s among some grassy hills.