We Do Not Say Good-bye (SATB a cappella)

First page

In 2011, I composed an SATB a cappella setting for this sonnet by Lawrence Lee (1903–1978):

  We do not say good-bye. Somehow the soul
  Keeps all that has been loved with it always.
  The bodies break, friends go, the seasons roll;
  But of each cherished thing the spirit stays.
  They are like summer shining on the air —
  These forms, this breathing earth, these radiant friends.
  From their remembered splendor I shall wear
  Some light about me till my moment ends.

  I cannot carve your lovely shape in stone,
  Staying awhile its excellence from decay,
  Nor fix your beauty into paint. Alone
  A look upon my face will sometimes say
  How beautiful are the things which I have known
  That came from earth, that turn again to clay.

  — Lawrence Lee, from Tomorrow Good-bye (1933)
The score is here. You are free to download and print as many copies of the music as you like, but I ask that you send me $1 for each copy after the first. If that would be a hardship, let me know, and we can work something out. You can email me to get my home address and to ask for an invoice or receipt.

Here's a recording of the JUUL Tones a cappella group singing the piece in the annual Service of Music at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego on 19 May 2013. (This recording was edited to incorporate a change in measure 21 made after the performance, and to fix a spot in the recording where there was a small flub with the lyrics.)

Lawrence Lee coprighted Tomorrow Good-bye in 1933, but did not renew the copyright after the initial 28 year period, so the text of the poem is in the public domain.


Return to Everett Howe's musical composition page.

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