The Lotte Lehmann Foundation, for CyberSing 2004
Libby Larsen Publishing
In 1985 I spent a week in Cairo, Egypt. I had been asked to collaborate with Madame Jehan Sadat to create a choral symphony, Coming Forth Into Day and so I immersed myself and all my sensibilities in Mrs. Sadat's culture. After that, I was a changed artist, for life.
In working with Mrs. Sadat to find words for our piece, I picked up a book of ancient love poetry translated from Hieroglyphics to English by Dr. John L. Foster. Ever since then, I have hoped for an opportunity to set at least one of these poems.
I love you though the daytimes is my first setting of these poems. While I was preparing to write the song, I immersed myself in listening to the music of ancient Egyptians. There is a fine recording titled Music of the Ancient Sumerians, Egyptians and Greeks on the Pandorian label, PRCD1005 to which I refer anyone who wants hear that music.
I chose the Locrian mode for this song setting. Locrian mode is the mode most banned in the history of Western Music. In a sense, you could call it the “forbidden mode” - perfect for this poem. For the singer, the two half-steps (b-c and e-f) can become expressive focal points within the rising line gesture of both the vocal and piano parts.
The piece is about deep, painful patience in the face overwhelming yearning. The tempo is slow, almost painfully slow. It wants to surge ahead, but it must be held carefully just on the point of surge but not beyond it. The repetitive motive in the piano must be kept at the same tempo throughout - as it suggests control, the pacing of passion, the holding back.
- Libby Larsen
This piece is available in the original key (medium), a higher key or a lower key. Each version is available in printed form as well as a PDF download.