I Am In Need of Music

  • September 8, 2004
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Text by Elizabeth Bishop


Commissioned: Marilyn Horne Foundation for the Foundation's 10th anniversary and Marilyn Horne's 70th birthday gala


Premiere: February 1, 2004; Carnegie Hall, New York; Bejun Mehta, countertenor; Lang Lang, piano


Duration: 5’



I Am in Need of Music

Elizabeth Bishop "I am in need of music that would flow"


I am in need of music that would flow

Over my fretful, feeling fingertips,

Over my bitter-tainted, trembling lips,

With melody, deep, clear, and liquid-slow.

Oh, for the healing swaying, old and low,

Of some song sung to rest the tired dead,

A song to fall like water on my head,

And over quivering limbs, dream flushed to glow!


There is a magic made by melody:

A spell of rest, and quiet breath, and cool

Heart, that sinks through fading colors deep

To the subaqueous stillness of the sea,

And floats forever in a moon-green pool,

Held in the arms of rhythm and of sleep.


© 1979, 1983 by Alice Helen Methfessel. Used by arrangement with Farrar, Straus and Giroux LLC. All rights reserved.


I Am in Need of Music

Sheet Music

For medium or high voice and piano