In 1982, I composed Pied Piper Fantasy for flute and orchestra, a piece with stage action, inspired by the virtuosity of James Galway on the flute and the tin whistle. That was a fairy-tale work, bubbling with the humorous, sometimes sardonic personality of Mr. Galway himself. Six years later, I tried to explore the more poetic side of Irish flute music in these settings of folk or folk-like texts by W.B. Yeats, Padraic Colum and an anonymous author. The tenor Robert White and the flutist Lisa Hansen gave the first performance in New York's Town Hall on June 18, 1988.
I. The Salley Garden
Down by the salley gardens my love and I did meet;
She pass'd the salley gardens with little snow-white feet.
She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree;
But I, being young and foolish, with her would not agree.
Down by the salley gardens my love and I did stand.
And on my leaning shoulder, she laid her snow-white hand.
She bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the weirs;
But I was young and foolish, and now am full of tears.
William Butler Yeats
II. The Foggy Dew
A-down the hill I went at morn, a lovely maid I spied.
Her hair was bright as the dew that wets sweet Anner's verdant side.
"Now where go ye, sweet maid?" said I. She raised her eyes of blue
And smiled and said, "The boy I'll wed I'm to meet in the foggy dew!"
Go hide your bloom, ye roses red and droop ye lilies rare,
For you must pale for very shame before a maid so fair!
Says I, "Dear maid, will ye be my bride?" Beneath her eyes of blue
She smiled and said, "The boy I'll wed I'm to meet in the foggy dew!"
A-down the hill I went at mom, a-singing I did go.
A-down the hill I went at mom, she answered soft and low.
"Yes, I will be your own dear bride and I know that you'll be true."
Then sighed in my arms, and all her charms, they were hidden in the foggy dew.
III. She Moved Thro'The Fair
My young love said to me, "My mother won't mind,
And my father won't slight you for your lack of kine."
And she stepped away from me and this she did say,
"It will not be long love, 'till our wedding day:"
She stepp'd away from me and she went thro' the fair,
And fondly I watched her move here and move there,
And then she went homeward with one star awake,
As the swan in the evening moves over the lake.
Last night she came to me, she came softly in.
So softly she came that her feet made no din,
And she laid her hand on me and this she did say,
"It will not be long love, 'til our wedding day."
Tenor Robert White and flutist Ransom Wilson recorded the Three Irish Folksong Settings in 1978, on an all-Corigliano disk released by RCA Victor (60395-2-RG).