Mark Woodward’s award-winning choral composition “The Day Slipped By” was recently premiered by Portland Vocal Consort. This is from the Forest Grove concert.
As Rachel AuBuchon revels in the pleasures of farming, she alludes to the fluid and often elusive nature of time in these excerpts from her poem “Sunset.” She juxtaposes the repetition of manual labor against the pause of reflection and then pins a moment’s epiphany against the cycle of days and seasons.This song-setting hopes to create a similar sense of suspended time by stretching the triple meter through metric modulations and presenting surprising harmonies in each of its three short sections. The song concludes with a hymn of quiet awareness and submission to the timeless cycles of the sun.
The Day Slipped By
The day slipped by with swinging notes as reapers sowed their fields.
Sweet droning haze of yellow life, it made me want to wield
A tool of labor for myself, to work, to gain, to cut.
The sweat wiped from my brow at noon became my chill at dusk.
For as the sun advanced to shine before soon waking lands,
The sky and air turned purple-blue and cast upon my hands
New shadows, lines, and shapes of unknown hues and colors lost
Until breathless shock of frost.
Lapsing from dream to dream, I’m waking, sensing, knowing.
Yes, this is life, this gust of wind that rushes down the throat,
The surprise at the clearness, the gentle journey of night
That opens and closes with the sun.