As We Stood Then
for mezzo-soprano or baritone, violin/viola, and piano

Composition Date: 1975
Duration: 00:24:30
Genre: Solo Voice, With Chamber Ensemble, , Keyboard / String Bowed

Instrumentation:

Instrumentation Set Number 1:
  • 1 x Piano
  • 1 x Mezzo Soprano
  • 1 x Viola
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Programme Note:
Editor’s Notes

As We Stood Then is a sequence of five song-settings of poems by the great English poet Thomas Hardy (1840-1928). It was undertaken in February and March of 1975 at the behest of then Vancouver Symphony Orchestra concert-master Gerald Jarvis and his wife, mezzo-soprano Delia Wallis.

The poetry itself may be the only program note the work requires. From a visit to the magical, mythical land of Arthur and Merlin, to the sounds of birds on a spring day in the English countryside, to the buzzing of a dying fly on a window-pane and the thunderous passage of a great, smoke-belching, 19th-century steam train, Weisgarber’s music is wedded wondrously with the text and serves as a prime example of his lyric sensitivity to the poet’s art, time and place.

The five songs are presented in a continuous, one-movement format interspersed with connective instrumental interludes that introduce each song. The poems themselves are unrelated, coming from a number of different collections. The uniting ethos of all five is the loss of past happiness and the regret of unrealized dreams. Weisgarber has arranged his five selections such that the first, third and fifth songs relate an all too human story of dreams dreamed and hopes dashed, interspersed with two nature poems reflective of the endless cycle of birth and death in the poet’s beloved English West Country. The closing line of the final poem provides the work with its title, an eloquent but simple statement of longing for a time called “then”.

Weisgarber revised the work after its initial performance but instead of applying the revisions to the version that you have before you he included them in an orchestration of the work completed in 1979 and performed in November of that year by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra with Delia Wallis as soloist.

He apparently, and inexplicably, abandoned the chamber music version altogether as it was never submitted to the Canadian Music Centre for inclusion in its catalogue. It is a gem too precious to be abandoned in such a way and so I submit it now, four decades late, in the hope that it will find its way into many a concert hall in the years to come.

Karen Suzanne Smithson,
the composer’s daughter and editor, June 2017












Premiere Information:
Vancouver, B.C.
Vancouver East Cultural Centre
7/12/75
Delia Wallis, mezzo-soprano Gerald Jarvis, viola/violin Linda-Lee Thomas, piano live concert, broadcast by CBC

CATALOGUE INFO:

  • Call Number:
  • MV 1205 W427as
  • Genre:
  • Solo Voice, With Chamber Ensemble, , Keyboard / String Bowed
  • Date of Acquisition:
  • June 14, 2017
  • Type:
  • Print-music, Published by CMC
  • Physical Description:
  • Score
    41 Pages
    Height: 30 cm
    Width: 23 cm
    viola part
    7 Pages
    Height: 30 cm
    Width: 23 cm
  • Language Information
  • Main language: English
  • Additional Information:
  • Text by Thomas Hardy
    I. When I Set Out for Lyonnesse
    II. Proud Songsters
    III. Faintheart on a Railway Train
    IV. Before and After Summer
    V. At an Inn
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As We Stood Then for mezzo-soprano or baritone, violin/viola, and piano: Score and Parts
Score and Parts
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As We Stood Then for mezzo-soprano or baritone, violin/viola, and piano: Score
Score
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As We Stood Then for mezzo-soprano or baritone, violin/viola, and piano by Elliot Weisgarber (Score)
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As We Stood Then for mezzo-soprano or baritone, violin/viola, and piano
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Copies of this work are available for loan from: Toronto