Music
Garth Baxter is noted as a modern traditionalist composer. This is a style that combines the traditions of form and clear melodic writing with the use of contemporary approaches to harmonies and other elements. He has composed works for various performance mediums, ranging from intimate solo and small group settings to larger ensembles such as orchestra and concert band. His compositions have been performed around the world.

Piano Compositions

* Click a song title to view (or hide) a description.

Ballade for a Princess YouTube

10 minutes, Advanced. Alymar $8

20th Century work in the style of the 19th Century ballades of Chopin and Brahms.

This work is in a quasi two-part form. The first part presents a motivic theme, accompanied by some dissonant harmonies. It is episodic and restless. The second part introduces a very lyrical and romantic theme that is followed by a developmental section. The work concludes with another statement of the lyrical second theme followed by a short codetta.

Resistance

6 minutes, Advanced. Alymar $7

A highly emotional work that begins in atonality and gradually moves to a most tonal conclusion. The form used is related to the classical sonata form. The A theme is lyrical but with some dissonant harmonies. The B theme is highly chromatic and in an extremely up-tempo mostly triple meter. Each time Resistance has been performed it has created great excitement from the audience.

Romance Without Words
(Romance Sans Paroles) YouTube

(Nocturne)

6+ minutes Advanced Alymar $10

This is a highly romantic work that is written in the style of a Chopin Nocturne. The themes presented here are found in Act I, Scene 2 of the opera Lily. The form is episodic with developmental work intersecting the melodic statements. This work was premiered in Rome, Italy on May 8, 2011 by Elitza Harbova.

From the Headwaters YouTube

9 minutes, Upper intermediate. Alymar, score and parts $20.00

Piano Trio (Violin, Cello, Piano)

This is a romantic one-movement work in a broad ternary form. It begins with a dark theme in the two stringed instruments. After the piano enters with that theme it then moves to a romantic melody. The B section is up-tempo with a light melody that is tossed around among the 3 instruments. It returns to an abbreviated A section.

This piece is dedicated to the memory of my brother Gari Baxter.

(This is a revision of an earlier work: The Rejected Stone.)

Four Views of Love

Prizewinner at the 1997 Delius Composition Competition. A song cycle that depicts four different romantic moods.

8-9 minutes Difficulty levels vary Alymar $15

  1. When You Are Old YouTube

    Words by W. B. Yeats

    Two and a half minutes. Upper intermediate

    (The only one of the four songs in this cycle that should be sung by a male voice.)

    A song of lost love.

    Through-composed. (Although it ends with a return to the opening line.) Lyrical with a soaring dramatic climactic point near the end.

  2. Let it be You

    Words by Sara Teasdale

    One and a half minutes, Intermediate

    This is a song that expresses deep love. (Dedicated to the composer's wife, Katherine.) In binary form with the same melodic figure opening both sections of the song.

    The song is somewhat chromatic but very lyrical and expressive.

  3. Let it be Forgotten YouTube

    Words by Sara Teasdale

    Two and a half minutes, Intermediate.

    This is a poem reflecting a melancholy mood.

    Through-composed with a recurring piano figure. This is a romantic, expressive song that reflects the melancholy of the words.

  4. A Thunderstorm in Town YouTube

    Words by Thomas Hardy

    One and half minutes, Intermediate (somewhat more difficult for singer.)

    The poem is a cute look at young love.

    The song is in a free strophic form.

    It is chromatic with some leaps for the singer.

I Will Always Be Beholden YouTube

From Act I, Scene I of Lily

Arranged for voice and piano.

This aria, sung by Lily to her main love interest Seldon, is a declaration of her dependence on others to maintain her social standing. It is written in the style of traditional operatic arias. That is to say there is strong melodic writing enveloped in a recognizable form.

I Have Said I Love You/
I Dare Not Dream YouTube

An aria and duet from Act I, Scene II of Lily, an opera.

6 minutes, piano part is arranged from orchestral score.

This ultra-romantic excerpt from Lily begins with the aria, I have said I love you, sung by the male lead, Seldon, in which he declares his love for Lily and hopes for her love. This is followed by the duet I dare not dream, in which Lily and Seldon, indeed, express their love for one another.

The Date Seller YouTube

A song from Act I, Scene I of Lily, an opera.

2 minutes, piano part is an arrangement of the orchestral score.

This song is part of the tableaux vivants that are in the opening section of scene I. It is sung by Marie-Lucette Fabienne. This is a simple, folk-like tune is sung while she is portraying the painting The Date Seller by Edwin Longsden Long.

Long Ago YouTube

An aria from Act I, Scene III of Lily, an opera.

5 minutes, piano part is an arrangement of the orchestral score.

This aria comes near the end of the first act. Lily has just realized that her life seems to be spiraling downhill. She reflects that life was so much easier before. Every thing was falling in place. Now she is in danger of losing everything and she also is concerned about the well-being of Seldon.

Three Poems by Linda Pastan

Three songs on poems by former Maryland state poet laureate.

8 minutes, Difficulty varies. Alymar $12

  1. Self Portrait at 44 YouTube

    Two and half to three minutes. Intermediate.

    A song about middle age and the acceptance of our limitations and inadequacies.

    Through-composed song with a recurring romantic piano melody.

  2. Marks YouTube

    One and a half minutes Upper intermediate to advanced.

    The only one of the three songs that should be sung by a female voice.

    A humorous song of the modern woman standing up for her dignity.

    Through-composed but with similar melodic ideas throughout.

  3. Caroline YouTube

    Two and half to three minutes. Easy vocal, intermediate piano.

    This is a thoughtful song about the death of a woman.

    Through-composed bluesy song with extended dramatic piano part.

The Long Hill YouTube

Words by Sara Teasdale

For female voice and piano.

Two and a half minutes Intermediate Alymar $5

A song expressing the realization that we can't always live up to our expectations.

In ternary form.

Intermediate level for both performers.

Grandmother, Think Not I Forget Youtube

3 and a half minutes, Intermediate. Les Productions D'OZ. $7

Words by Garth Baxter and Katherine Baxter freely adapted from a poem by Willa Cather

For female voice and piano.

Voice and piano version of highly successful song originally written for voice and guitar.

Touching memorial to the composer's wife's grandmother.

This song never fails to bring great response from audiences. It speaks to all who have lost a loved one.

A Wife in London (from The Battle Cry) Youtube

Words by Thomas Hardy

Three minutes, Difficult for vocalist, intermediate for piano. Alymar $5

Heartbreaking lyrics of a wife receiving a letter stating that her husband has been killed in war, and then the next day she receives a letter from her husband written shortly before he died telling her how much he looked forward to seeing her again.

The music dramatically depicts the romance and the tragedy of the lyrics.

The Man He Killed (from The Battle Cry) Youtube

Words by Thomas Hardy

One and a half minutes Easy Alymar $4

A touching song of sung from the point of view of a soldier who killed another man in war and realizing that in another situation they might have been friends.

Simple folk-like song easy for both the singer and the pianist.

Two Songs of Reflection

Voice and Guitar or Voice and Piano

6 minutes, Difficulty varies. Les Productions D'OZ.

  1. The Cradle Song YouTube

    Words by William Blake.

    3 minutes, Lower advanced.

    An interesting text that begins as a lullaby of a mother to a baby and then midway becomes a song about the baby Jesus.

    The music is set in a binary form to reflect the poetry. Each section has two verses with each being set to similar music.

    Tonal but highly chromatic with many leaps for the vocalist in the A section. The B section is almost folk-like in simplicity.

  2. What Death Can Touch YouTube

    Words by Chaim Stern.

    3 minutes, Lower intermediate.

    Highly touching words about losing a loved one.

    Through-composed but with many similar phrases.

Three Madrigals

Voice and Guitar or Voice and Piano.

6 minutes, Difficulty varies. Alymar.

  1. There is a Lady Sweet and Kind

    Two and a half minutes, Intermediate for voice, upper intermediate for guitarist.

    The song captures the mood of light romantic innocence with just a hint of melancholy. This, as well as the other two songs from this set, is written in the style of a renaissance lute song.

    It is written in AA'BA"B' form.

  2. The Silver Swan YouTube

    Two and a half minutes, Difficult. This is a new setting of the poem by Christopher Hatton. Written in ternary form with a coda. The song is difficult due to a fair amount of chromaticism and leaps. But the piece stays within the realm of tonality.

  3. Love Me Not for Comely Grace

    2 minutes, Intermediate for voice, upper intermediate for guitarist.

    Light hearted love song.

    Through composed but similar motives in each verse.

The Silver Run YouTube

9 minutes, upper intermediate level, ALRY Publications. CD $5 (available late fall, 2003)

The Silver Run is a two-movement work in the neo-romantic style. The first movement, in ternary form, begins with a lyrical chromatic melody that is the centerpiece of this movement. The middle section develops a transitional motive from the first section. The second movement, also in ternary form, is rather upbeat. The first of the two primary themes is lyrical, but active. The second is more rhythmic and chromatic. This is a substantial and fun composition that is sure to be a hit at recitals.

Des Larmes Encadrees (Framed Tears) YouTube

7 minutes, Intermediate to upper intermediate. Alymar $10, CD $5

Des larmes encadrées, for Alto Saxophone and Piano, was written for my friend Romain Gravier, who is a saxophone player in the Paris-based group La Scaña del Domingo. The first of the two main themes is a melancholy bluesy theme, which captures Romain’s carefree approach to life. Always relaxed, he takes life as it comes without succumbing to the stress and anxiety the rest of us react to. The second primary theme is loosely based on the English folksong The Willow Tree, which is a favorite of Romain’s wife, Laurence Gravier. The title, Des larmes encadrées means Framed Tears. Both of the major themes are a bit reflective, so I infused the music with a more upbeat transitional theme which I used throughout the composition. As in all of my chamber compositions, I made a real effort to make the instruments equal partners. The piano is not accompaniment; it is an essential element along with the saxophone.

How Can These Hands YouTube

From Act II, Scene I of Lily

4 1/2 minutes, piano part is an arrangement of the orchestral score.

This aria is sung by Lily after she finds herself forced to work in a hat shop and discovers that she doesn't have the skills to do the work.

Could You Dream What I Dream YouTube

For Violin and Piano

6 + minutes

Could you dream what I dream is a romantic work written for violinist Nicholas Currie. The opening melody is borrowed from an aria sung in Act I, Scene II, by the male lead in the opera Lily which Mr. Baxter is writing with librettist Lisa VanAuken.

The lyricism that is so clearly a strong feature in Mr. Baxter's style is very evident here - melodic, and flexible in both the violin and piano parts (it's nice that the piano gets some lovely passages, as well!). I would imagine that this piece would fit wonderfully in a recital program, as it could both complement and contrast other works, while still holding its own grown. There is depth and weight to it.
-Ronald Pearl, Guitarist and composer

There are no words to describe the emotions I feel in this piece, which I feel is one of Garth's best. No truer notes of love have ever been spoken and none have pierced my heart so. Don't speak; only listen to notes so true as to never have known language at all, but have soared through the heart's center. The heart's desire. My heart's desire.
-Lea Johnson, Pianist

How Strange to Think YouTube

From Act II, Scene II of Lily

5 + minutes, arranged for voice and piano from the orchestral score.

This aria is sung near the beginning of the final scene of the opera. Lily is preparing for the party to announce her engagement to Gus. Marriage to Gus will put her back into a comfortable social and economic situation. There is an attendant with her who is helping her with her hair and clothes. Lily sings this song while reflecting upon her situation and that of the young woman helping her.

I shall forever love you YouTube

From Act II, Scene II of Lily

The bitter but extremely romantic aria is sung by Seldon to Lily upon learning that she is engaged to Gus whom she does not love.

Nights Without Sleep (A Composer's Thoughts)

Voice and piano, 2 1/2 minutes, Alymar Publicatons

Words by Sara Teasdale

A glimpse at the emotional process of composing music with an extraordinarily accurate text by Sara Teasdale (who called her poems "songs".) This is a short but extremely personal song that the composer worked on off and on for 15 years.

Three Poems from Edna St. Vincent Millay

Difficulty varies.

  1. Afternoon on a Hill (dedicated to Audrey Desjardins and Gabriel Jean) SoundCloud

    1+ minute. Easy.

    A quiet, happy song depicting a delightful afternoon.

  2. Lament (dedicated to Katherine Keem) SoundCloud

    2 minutes 45 seconds. Intermeditate

    A tragic song of loss.

  3. Travel (dedicated to Willow Moss) SoundCloud

    1 3/4 minutes. Easy to intermediate

    A quiet, nostalgic song of longing.