The Lake Isle of Innisfree

for bass voice and piano

Conor Angell, bass-baritone

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

By William Butler Yeats (1865 – 1939)

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

Program Note

I composed this song during the summer of 2007 while attending the Brevard Summer Music Festival in Brevard, North Carolina. All composer participants were asked to set the same text for a concert of new arts song at the end of the festival. I love the images Yeats conjures in the text of quietly living a peaceful existence in solitude, growing your own food, and delighting in the everyday sights and sounds of the natural world. Though it is wonderfully depicted by Yeats in verse, this is a life for which I am not well suited. The music is very lyrical and includes a great deal of text-painting including the sounds of honeybees, jumping crickets, and what I imagine to be midnight’s “glimmer” and noon’s “purple glow.”