Op. 42 – Two Songs for Carol

High Voice and Piano

  1. The Last Night
  2. The Bustle of a House

The death on June 24, 2005 of my good friend Carol Buckley from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) at the age of 40 was a terrible blow to me as it was to all who knew and loved her. I was part of a group of friends who shared the duties of caring for her with her husband during her last months at home. The Dickinson poem The Last Night That She Lived seemed as if it was describing the scene exactly, and I could understand what was meant by the final lines And we, we placed the hair, and drew the head erect, And then an awful leisure was belief to regulate. I knew fairly quickly what the music was going to be, but writing it down was slow, for it was difficult to get past the emotions of the event to crystallize them on paper. The other song, The bustle of a house the morning after death, affected me similarly, especially the lines The sweeping up the heart, the putting love away. The words are emotional to me, and so the music I set them to is charged with that emotion for me.