Spring and Fall

for Medium Voice, Cello, and Piano

“Spring and Fall” is a setting of Hopkins poem by the same title. In the text, the speaker consoles Margaret, who is grieving her first loss (loss of innocence or possibly a death). The speaker attempts a stoic veneer, but emotion seeps through; the speaker’s own struggle is brought out in the rapidly shifting mood of the cello cadenza. The speaker asks Margaret why she is weeping, concluding that she weeps for a universal human condition, something we all feel but can scarcely name: “It is the blight man was born for, / It is Margaret you mourn for.” While both instruments engage in musical commentary on the text, the piano is more of a passive observer of the mood; the cello is more closely aligned to the voice and to the speaker’s emotional struggle, as they try to comfort Margaret, and ultimately, themself.

Spring and Fall

Work Details

5½ Minutes

December 11, 2003
New Music Festival
Kulas Hall, Cleveland Institute of Music, Cleveland, OH
Kimberly Lauritsen (mezzo-soprano),Peter Myers (cello), Jacob Adams (piano)

2004 Ohio Federation of Music Clubs Student Composers Contest
2004 International Tampa Bay Composers’ Forum Prize for Excellence in Chamber Music (2nd place)

For parts and other performance materials, contact Aaron Alon.


Spring and Fall

Commercial Recording


Greetings from NACUSA (2005)

LABEL: National Association of Composers/USA
Kimberly Lauritsen (mezzo-soprano), Peter Myers (cello), Jacob Adams (piano)

The Text

by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Spring and Fall

to a young child

MÁRGARÉT, áre you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves, líke the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Áh! ás the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.