Songs in my Songbook

A Star Fell, the first song in my songbook.

What is it that drives some of us to create? To write, to draw, to compose? I suspect both demons and angels–working deep within us–are partly to blame. Works of art are attempts to bring meaning and order to the chaos of our life’s experience. Edward Hirsch says, in his book, The Demon and the Angel, Searching for the Source of Artistic Inspiration, “Art is born from struggle and touches an anonymous center. Art is inexplicable and has a dream-power that radiates from the night of mind. It unleashes something ancient, dark, and mysterious into the world. It conducts a fresh light.” Those are some of the essential characteristics that I hope the songs in my songbook, A Star Fell and Other Songs, exhibit. Especially the part about “conducting a fresh light.” One always hopes for originality! The mysterious power of both music and words has always fascinated me, but I am doubly intrigued by the magic that can occur when words are creatively set to new music, combining both the words and the music into one coherent work of art. The combination often yields more than the words presented alone, or at least, a new expression, a new “take” on the words. The composer’s task is to underscore the emotions and images of the song’s lyrics to dramatic effect. I intend to post here on my new blog site, astarfell.com, from time to time, ruminations about the various compositions in my songbook and will begin by discussing the first song in that songbook, A Star Fell, one of the very first compositions that I ever wrote. It uses a poem written by my mother, Florence Rubert (Graves) Rossi, in 1938, several years before my birth:

A star fell, Tearing night’s veil. It was then I discovered Night’s weeping. Are they for us–these tears? Is this, then, for mortals– This great compassion? How silent you are, Night, Gathering us in– How silent and tender! How comforting!

Does this poem not have a dream-power that radiates from the night of mind? That unleashes something ancient, dark, and mysterious into the world? That conducts a fresh light? Tell me what you think.

My songbook, A Star Fell and Other Songs, is now available online. It is available in two different editions: the South Carolina Editions and the Arkansas Edition. The only difference between the two editions is the information and photos on the back covers. You can see more information about A Star Fell and Other Songs, and the covers up close, by clicking on the links below.:

 A Star Fell and Other SongsThe Carolina Edition

A Star Fell and Other SongsThe Arkansas Edition

You may view the contents page of my songbook by clicking here.

You may view the first page of my song A Star Fell, and my other songs, on my other website, jsgraves.musicaneo.com, where all my songs, piano and choral music can be viewed, purchased and downloaded individually in high quality, print at home, PDF files. For those who want more information on Florence Rubert (Graves) Rossi, go to graveshouse.org. Mr. Hirsch’s book was published in 2002 by Harcourt, Inc. Used by permission from the author.

J. S. Graves

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