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Steven Bryant, "Nothing Gold Can Stay"

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Steven Bryant

Born: May 28, 1972, Little Rock, Arkansas

Composed: 2016

Duration: 9 minutes

Nature’s first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf’s a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay.

-Robert Frost

Nothing Gold Can Stay was commissioned as a surprise gift for Kevin Sedatole in honor of his first ten years at Michigan State University. His conducting students spanning that decade, led by Jamal Duncan and Armand Hall, banded together and approached me at the 2015 College Band Directors National Convention in Nashville about writing the work, and I knew immediately that I couldn’t refuse this special project, made all the more appropriate because my wife, Verena, was one of Kevin’s very first students at MSU.

The music is my deliberate attempt to write a chorale – something simple, beautiful, and familiar. The deceptive surface simplicity of Robert Frost’s poem seems to coincide with this music, particularly the paradoxical descending of dawn to day, all embodying the concept of felix culpa, or “lucky fall” – the idea that loss can bring greater good, and is in fact necessary.

- Steven Bryant

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