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It isn't a dream... (2018)

for SSAA choir | 00:04:00

by Melissa Dunphy | text by Lola Ridge

Commissioned by the Cornell University Chorus, Robert Isaacs, Conductor, for their "No Whining, No Flowers" Commissioning Project.

It isn't a dream....
It comes again and again....
You hear ivy crying on steeples
the flames haven't caught yet
and images screaming
when they see red light on the lilies
on the stained glass window of St. Joseph.
The girl with the black eyes holds you tight,
and you run... and run
past the wild, wild towers...
and trees in the gardens tugging at their feet
and little frightened dolls
shut up in the shops
crying... and crying... because no one stops...
you spin like a penny thrown out in the street
Then the man clutches her by the hair....
He always clutches her by the hair....
His eyes stick out like spears.
You see her pulled-back face
and her black, black eyes
lit up by the glare....
Then everything goes out.
Please God, don't let me dream any more
of the girl with the black, black eyes.

—From Sun-Up [I. Celia] by Lola Ridge (1920)

"It Isn't A Dream is one of my favorite pieces I've been able to sing at Cornell, and it was an honor to sing it for Melissa and the audience at our Twilight Concert. Thank you, Melissa, for bringing such a wonderful piece to life and giving us the opportunity to introduce it to the world. I'm so proud of the Chorus for doing justice to this piece, and I can't wait for other treble choirs to get to sing it too." [Kathryn Miller '19, Cornell University Chorus Blog]

Artwork by Melissa Dunphy


Performances

  • 10 Apr, 2019: Cornell University Chorus at St. Luke Lutheran Church, Ithaca, NY
  • 05 Apr, 2019: Cornell University Chorus at Church of the Covenant, Boston, MA
  • 03 Apr, 2019: Cornell University Chorus at Chalmers Wesley United Church, Quebec City, Canada
  • 02 Apr, 2019: Cornell University Chorus at Cathédrale Christ Church Cathedral, Montreal, Canada
  • 31 Mar, 2019: Cornell University Chorus at Southminster United Church, Ottawa, Canada
  • 30 Mar, 2019: Cornell University Chorus at Trinity College Chapel, Toronto, Canada
  • 29 Mar, 2019: Cornell University Chorus at Saint George on Yonge Anglican, Toronto, Canada
  • 20 Oct, 2018: Cornell University Chorus at Bailey Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY