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Passing in the Night by Wallace


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About This Work

Composer:  Frank Wallace 

Description: Passing in the Night is five short movements dedicated to my father. It was written in Würzburg Germany August 15-18, 2012 while I was on a composition retreat after 13 concerts in Spain. Anxious to write in general and specifically to fulfill a commission for the Beatty Youth Competition, I did not expect to receive notice that my 94 year old father had a fever and had stopped eating. The words of Amanda, a shape note hymn by Justin Morgan, still resounded in my ears from a magical performance in the Romanesque San Martín de Frómista: “Death like an overflowing stream sweeps us away, our life’s a dream, an empty tale, a morning flower, cut down and withered in an hour.”

The five works encompass various styles, perhaps influenced by my travels through several countries and by my father’s love of travel. The first, “Round the World,” is a homage to fabulous Bulgarian composer/guitarist Atanas Ourkouzounov who I had visited recently. The second, “Don’t say Goodbye” recalls the stark harmonies and gracious melodies of Justin Morgan and the shape note school. The titles of 2,3 and 5 are quotes from my father during my last visit. Dad told us of his recent [imagined] trip “round the world.” A few months earlier he would have elaborated greatly in detail, exotic surely, but as his body weakened after eleven years of struggle, his mind, or perhaps just his voice, couldn’t illumine the imagined trip. I think he would have been excited to visit Bulgaria.

On parting Dad said, “Don’t say good-bye [#2], say au revoir[#4]; I’m still your Pappy![#5]" After the meditative second piece, a quirky little number evokes his impossible dream of joining the pro golf circuit at age 90. Or rather, it is the feeling in me of how odd it was to feel happy that he had dreams, yet sad that he was so divorced from reality. Which is better?

Joyous dancing and love of life infuse the the last two pieces, celebrating a life well lived. Au revoir Pop!

Opus #: 71

Instrumentation: Solo Guitar

Era: 21st Century

Form: Fantasy

Type of Work: Solos

Nationality: American

Parts:  Score

Pages: 7

Commissioned by:  Beatty Music Scholarship Competition

Written: August 15-18, 2012 in Würzburg, Germany

Duration: 10:30 minutes

Difficulty level: moderate 

Publisher: Gyre Publications


Product Videos

Passing in the Night V - "I'm still your Pappy" on 1974 Rubio ()
  • Passing in the Night V - "I'm still your Pappy" on 1974 Rubio
  • Passing in the Night II - "Don't say goodbye" on 1873 Arias
  • Passing in the Night III - "Par 9" on 2011 Aaron Green

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