Four Songs by Samuel Barber / Aidan Baker

Arpeggio flare.  The nun’s high cry that springs not fail.  The swell quietened, the unseen swing of the sea.

A jaunty solitude.  Madge and what her friend dared not think when young.  Margery with them, tight-lipped at the knowing.

A smaller rolled chord.  Weep for wonder, in a life disputed decades afterwards, at the kindness, the wholeness, of this shining night.

The fourth song has a lot of sharps and naturals all over it.  Sometimes, to be clever, I’ve compared our diet to music with a shifting tonal centre, “like something by Samuel Barber”.  I was surprised that the first three songs of the set, when I looked at the music, didn’t have that many more key changes than songs by other people.  Barber said the music for this fourth song just popped out – not laboured, then – but admitted he wasn’t all that keen on the text.

The first three songs are jaw-dropping.


Aidan Baker is a retired librarian living in Cambridge, England.  His
poems have appeared in numerous outlets printed and online, notably
the magazine _Orbis_ and projects from the writers’ group 26
Characters. Twitter @AidanBaker

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