Spring and Fall

for SATB chorus (divisi) a cappella
Music by: Elizabeth Legierski
Text by: Gerard Manley Hopkins
Commissioned and premiered by Modern Sound Collective

Setting a text by Gerard Manley Hopkins, Elizabeth Legierski’s Spring and Fall explores feelings of childlike innocence in contrast with the acceptance of mortality.

Gerard Manley Hopkings (1844 – 1889)

to a young child

Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! As 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
will weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name
Sorrow’s springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.


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MSC0007 – Spring and Fall – SCORE PERUSAL PDF


This text by Gerard Manley Hopkins resonated with me in its combination of child-like innocence and rational, almost cynical acceptance of mortality. I think the human mind never stops struggling with the surreal concept of mortality, whether as a child or as an adult. In this 1880 text, the word ‘man’ represents humanity. As a unifying, hopeful idea of the plight we all share, the same harmony (Bb Major chord) is used on this word throughout the piece.