The Sweetness of my Dreams (cycle)
Welcome to the magical world of Hilda Conkling, poetic prodigy, age 10.
Voicing: mezzo-soprano, piano
duration: 3-5 minutes
I. I Will Sing You a Song
III. Theatre Song
IV. Moon Song
V. About My Dreams
I. I will sing you a song!
I will sing you a song,
With love in it,
(How I love you!)
What song shall I sing,
Rose-song or clover-song?
If I find a moon,
I will sing a moon song.
The red moon comes out in the night.
When I’m asleep, the moon comes pattering up
Into the trees.
Then I peep out my window
To watch the moon go by.
Will you love me to-morrow after next?
As if I had a bird’s way of singing?
O Little Soldier with the golden helmet,
What are you guarding on my lawn?
You with your green gun
And your yellow beard,
Why do you stand so stiff?
There is only the grass to fight!
III. Theatre Song (an exaggerated tale)
Eagles were flying over the sky
And mermaids danced in the gold waters.
Eagles were calling over the sky
And the water was the color of blue flowers.
Sunshine was ‘flected in the waves
Like meadows of white buds.
This is what I saw
On a morning long ago…
IV. Moon Song
There is a star that runs very fast,
That goes pulling the moon
Through the tops of the poplars.
It is all in silver,
The tall star:
The moon rolls goldenly along
Out of breath.
Mr. Moon, does he make you hurry?
V. About my Dreams
Now the flowers are all folded
and the dark is going by.
The evening is arising…
it is time to rest.
When I am sleeping
I find my pillow full of dreams.
they are all new dreams:
no one told them to me
before I came through the cloud.
They remember the sky, my little dreams,
they have wings, they are quick, they are sweet.
Help me tell my dreams
to the other children,
so that their bread may taste whiter,
so that the milk they drink
may make them think of meadows in the sky of stars.
Dear God, let me hold up my silver cup
for them to drink,
and tell them the sweetness
of my dreams.
– Hilda Conkling
Welcome to the magical world of Hilda Conkling, poetic prodigy, age 10. This sensationally young girl captures the essence of a child’s spirit so ingeniously in these poems, published in 1920. These texts are full of unanswered questions, exaggerated declarations, interrupted thoughts and curiosities, and even profound, altruistic notions. The music strives to capture this same spirit in its melody, harmony, and form. “I will sing you a song!” shows both a young child’s eagerness to please as well as their intense vulnerability. “Dandelion,” a composed temper-tantrum, with stomping feet and all, brings to light a child’s seriousness and fanatical obsession with what we as adults may consider trifle. “Theatre Song” is a theatrical act, and as such, an exaggerated tale, while “Moon Song” captures the spirit of endless questions and bedtime avoidance. Most entrancing, however, is “About my Dreams,” when a child is drifting in and out of sleep, with their best intentions and hopes and dreams, illuminating the philosophical aspect of a child’s spirit that we so often take for granted.
For the singer: These pieces require a commitment of character, however, do not adjust your singing voice to sound as a child’s. Only in one section, the ‘Moon-Song’ of “I will sing you a song!,” should adjustments be made.
For the pianist: Most of the time pedal is ad lib and the touch light, bright and easy. The piano accompaniment often reflects the emotions of the character.
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