4:00 | Mezzo Soprano and Piano | Request Score

Program Note

The Midnight Whistler was inspired after a friend and I decided to take a walk late one night. While we were walking, an unseen man in a window started whistling. We paused and turned around to see who it was, but the man stopped whistling as soon as we stopped walking. He would only resume his whistling after we resumed our walking. I never learned who this whistler was, but the powerful image of a lone man singing to the night stayed with me. I decided to write a song chronicling the mindset of such a figure, and titled it “The Midnight Whistler”. This character has no friends but the night he whistles to, although he desperately watches and longs for a companion. The song has an overall ABA’ structure. The A section is largely strophic, while the B section has a slower, contrasting melodic line. To further set the mood of loneliness and longing found in the text, the aurally unsettling augmented chord, an easily invertible stack of major 3rds with no definite root, is used often throughout the accompaniment. The piece concludes with a whistled variation of the main melody found in the A section. The final chord employs an augmented chord against a g minor tonic, never giving the listener a satisfying tonal conclusion to the song.

Text

The midnight whistler by the bridge,

watching for passers-by.

He stands and waits for anyone

to stop and wonder why.

 

The midnight whistler stays awake,

longing for someone to call.

But no one walks the cobblestone path

that leads to the deserted hall.

 

The midnight whistler has slowly learned

his only audience is the night.

He’s given a song to every star

that shines in the pale moonlight.

 

After the night has fallen

and the last light retreated,

he slowly paces back and forth,

his lonely song repeated.

 

The midnight whistler hears no sound

aside from the chant he intones.

He purses his lips and looks to the sky

and sings to the night that he owns.