5 1/2 min.
TextGerard Manley Hopkins
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 he tries to comfort Margaret, and ultimately, himself.