Two poems by Robert Frost, was composed in 1988 for The Spectrum Singers, John W. Ehrlich, Music Director. They premiered the music November 5, 1989 First Church Congregational, Cambridge, MA. Many performances with Spectrum Singers over three seasons fostered numerous performances throughout the U.S., followed by multiple performances by His Majesties Clerkes, who you hear on this recording.
The title of the composition (Mountain Interval) comes from the 1916 collection of poems by Robert Frost, of the same title. The two poems chosen for this setting are the first and last poems of the collection however, I decided to reverse the order to fit my own narrative. To me, "The Sound of Trees," is the young voice, eager to explore; while "The Road Not Taken," is more experienced and settled. The two poems are musically linked with a textless bridge section and also by shared thematic materials, which give a sense of larger formal dimension. Each poem (in this work) represents different stages in one's life.
MOUNTAIN INTERVAL: Two poems by Robert Frost
THE SOUND OF TREES
I wonder about the trees.
Why do we wish to bear
Forever the noise of these
More than another noise
So close to our dwelling place?
We suffer them by the day
Till we lose all measure of pace,
And fixity in our joys,
And acquire a listening air.
They are that that talks of going
But never gets away;
And that talks no less for knowing,
As it grows wiser and older,
That now it means to stay.
My feet tug at the floor
And my head sways to my shoulder
Sometimes when I watch trees sway,
From the window or the door.
I shall set forth for somewhere,
I shall make the reckless choice
Some day when they are in voice
And tossing so as to scare
The white clouds over them on.
I shall have less to say,
But I shall be gone.
THE ROAD NOT TAKEN
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I __
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Text, from Mountain Interval, by Robert Frost Copyright 1916 by Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc. and renewed in 1944 by Robert Frost. from: THE POETRY OF ROBERT FROST, ed. by Edward Connery Lathem. text used by the kind permission of Henry Holt and Co., Inc.