Sarah Palermo | Composer | Songwriter | Music Theorist

  Room to Roam

Baritone, Piano
Text: George MacDonald, from Phantastes
Duration: 3:00
Commissioned by James Scarantino and premiered by Drew Michael Brennan.
MacDonald's Phantastes is a fanciful tale of a young man who finds himself in fairy land, journeying great distances and meeting many different people, and creatures. The book is filled with metaphors and allegories about our own world and human lives, but presented in dreamlike fiction; it also happens to contain a great amount of songs and poems.
The poem "Room to Roam" is sung by a woman whom the young man encounters, for the second time, towards the end of the book. He does not recognize her at first, but later realizes they have met once before, when he caused her suffering. She expresses how she does not have a desire to spite him, nor does he need her forgiveness, for she has already forgiven him. The suffering he caused her - the result of breaking a precious globe she possessed, which played music - was alleviated when she realized she could make music with her own voice; so she left his presence with a song.
'Thou goest thine, and I go mine —
Many ways we wend;
Many days, and many ways,
Ending in one end.
Many a wrong, and its curing song;
Many a road, and many an inn;
Room to roam, but only one home 
For all the world to win.'
In this piece, the piano performs a very active accompaniment to the baritone, spanning nearly the entire range of the instrument in an attempt to provide both a magical backdrop to the text as well as a characterization of parting of the ways, as two acquaintances depart each other and may choose different paths. The baritone melody has moments that are familiar - like a folk song - and others that are dynamic and exposed.

Drew Michael Brennan, baritone

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All music and lyrics contained on this website by Sarah Palermo unless otherwise noted.
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