Article " Long, Long the Night" by Daniel Gregory Mason

Long, Long the Night, 1918, by Daniel Gregory Mason, 1873-1953.
Long, Long the Night, 1918. Daniel Gregory Mason, 1873-1953. Music Division, Library of Congress. Call number: M1582 .M

Mason wrote Long, Long the Night shortly after his appointment as lecturer at Columbia University in 1905. It is a setting of the poem, On Chloris Being Ill (1795), by Scottish poet and lyricist Robert Burns (1759-1796). In the poem, Burns laments the illness of a long-time family friend, Jean Lorimer, for whom he had a particular fondness.

Burns wrote this lyric to be sung to his own tune Ay Wauken O, a beautiful Celtic song about two lovers who are parted from each other. Mason did not use that melody, however, in his four-part unaccompanied choral piece. While Ay Wauken O is in a major mode, Long, Long the Night is predominantly in E minor until the final cadence in E major. Mason composed a new melody that is reminiscent of a simple folk song. He closely follows the lilting rhythmic structure of the verse, which compliments the text and preserves the Celtic folk-song quality.

The first two verses Mason sets using mildly chromatic harmonies with a few seventh and ninth chords. In the third verse, however, he suddenly injects extreme dissonance to capture the pathos of the text, "Hear me, Powers Divine. Oh, in pity hear me. Take all else of mine, but my Chloris spare me!" The chord on "Chloris" contains both an E-natural and an E-sharp. A similarly dissonant chord occurs, after a brief sequence, in a much lower vocal range and at a piano dynamic as the narrator quietly repeats his plea.

About this Item

Title
" Long, Long the Night" by Daniel Gregory Mason
Subject Headings
-  Mason, Daniel Gregory, 1873-1953
-  Progressive Era to New Era (1900-1929)
-  Songs and Music
-  Parlor and Concert Stage
-  Articles
Genre
article
Online Format
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online text
Description
Article. The first two verses Mason sets using mildly chromatic harmonies with a few seventh and ninth chords. In the third verse, however, he suddenly injects extreme dissonance to capture the pathos of the text, "Hear me, Powers Divine. Oh, in pity hear me. Take all else of mine, but my Chloris spare me!" The chord on "Chloris" contains both an E-natural and an E-sharp. A similarly dissonant chord occurs, after a brief sequence, in a much lower vocal range and at a piano dynamic as the narrator quietly repeats his plea.
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Items included here with the permission of the rights holders are indicated as such in the bibliographic record for each item.

In some cases, the Library was unable to identify a possible rights holder and has elected to place some of those items online as an exercise of fair use for strictly non-commercial educational uses. The Library of Congress would like to learn more about these materials and would like to hear from individuals or institutions that have any additional information or know of their history. Please contact:  Performing Arts Reading Room.

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" Long, Long the Night" by Daniel Gregory Mason. Online Text. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/ihas.200185397/. (Accessed May 26, 2017.)

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