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.

Vocal Compositions

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

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

    "Baxter uses an economical treatment of Pastan’s elegiac 'Caroline,' with a moving piano prelude and postlude that frames and illuminates the brief text."
    -Joanne Sydney Lessner, Opera News, March, 2015, Volume 79, #9

    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

"The vocal part is gorgeous"
-David Isaacs, Soundboard Magazine, Volume 41 #4, 2016

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.

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.

From the Heart: Three American Women

A CYCLE OF NINE SONGS IN THREE MINI-VOLUMES BROKEN DOWN BY POETS.

17-20 minutes, Difficulty varies Columbia Music Contact publisher for price.

This song cycle was the topic of a doctoral dissertation by Evelyn Fair (Shenandoah Conservatory of Music, 2006).

Volume One

Three From Sara

Words by Sara Teasdale

  1. There Will Come Soft Rains YouTube

    Two and a half minutes, Intermediate.

    This is a song of protest against war.

    This is a lyrical poem with a simple folk-like setting.

  2. The Inn of Earth YouTube

    Two minutes, Upper intermediate for voice, intermediate for guitar.

    This is a song of concern for the world - particularly in reference to third world countries.

    Jazzy setting that helps portray the coldness of the world.

  3. February Twilight

    One and a half minutes, Upper beginning.

    This is a simple, romantic lyrical song of escape.

Volume Two

Two Remembrances

Words by Susan Laura Lugo

  1. Gone With the Wind YouTube

    3 minutes, Intermediate for vocalist, upper beginning for guitar.

    This is a reflective song of remembrance of a daughter who died.

    Through-composed except that the two parts end with the same refrain.

  2. August YouTube

    2 minutes, Intermediate.

    A bluesy song that quickly transforms the listener to a sweltering afternoon sitting on the porch with no breeze in sight, just trying to keep cool.

Volume Three

Willa

Words by Willa Cather

  1. The Tavern YouTube

    3 minutes, Intermediate.

    This is a highly emotional song depicting a feeling of being without any true friends or lovers.

    Song in four stanzas with each stanza set to similar music.

  2. The Hawthorn Tree YouTube

    2 minutes, Lower intermediate.

    A sweet love song.

    Modified strophic setting of two verses.

  3. L'envoi YouTube

    2 and a half minutes, Intermdiate.

    A lyrical song of being alone.

    There are a number of lines in the poem that begin the same and therefore the music is the same for those lines. The song has a short introduction and a short codetta. Each of these ends the same way.

  4. Spanish Johnny YouTube

    Three minutes, Intermediate for voice, lower advanced for guitar.

    This song is about a criminal in the old west.

    Through-composed, although each stanza ends with the same music for the vocalist that is followed by the same guitar part. There is some traditional Spanish style music to reflect the poetry. The guitar part has some tremolo sections that capture the image of a mandolin (which is referred to in the poem).

    This song has been praised as a classic and is always the hit of the recital.

The Four Songs from Twelfth Night YouTube

Words by William Shakespeare.

8 minutes, Difficulty varies. Les Productions D'Oz.

Each of the songs are written in a low key so that they can be easily raised to whatever key is necessary for the vocalist through the use of a capo for the guitarist.

  1. O Mistress Mine

    Light hearted love song. Folk-like, up-tempo.

    Guitar can capo up to allow the singer to sing in a higher key.

    Difficulty: Easy.

  2. Come Away, Come Away Death

    Two and a half minutes, Upper beginning for voice, lower intermediate for guitarist.

    Tongue in cheek sad song of a pathetic soul in love.

    Two verses in strophic form. Introduction, ending and an interlude are all the same music for the guitar.

  3. I Am Gone Sir

    1 minute, Upper beginning level.

    Humorous song sung by the jester.

    Through-composed but ends with same music as it begins with.

  4. When That I Was and a Little Tiny Boy

    Fun, folk-like ending to the play. Guitar part can either play chords or a more interesting written accompaniment.

    Guitar can capo up to allow the singer to sing in a higher key.

    Difficulty: Easy.

Your Face is Beautiful

2 minutes, Lower intermediate. Alymar $5.

Words by Sara Teasdale

This is a lyrical song of great love.

Written in ABA' form.

Two Songs from La Casa de Bernarda Alba (A Play by Federico Garcia Lorca)

Easy to lower intermediate level. Alymar Publications $10, CD $5.

These songs were commissioned by the McDaniel College theatre department.

  1. Little Lamb

    Female voice a cappella or with guitar accompaniment.

    Somewhat emotional song sung by a slightly bewildered older woman.

    Difficulty: moderately easy. The guitar part mixes rasqueado strumming and single note accompaniment.

  2. Here Come the Reapers

    Men's chorus and guitar.

    This short song reflects the spirit of the workers in the field and their relationships with the women of the village.

    Folk-like in nature with simple strumming accompaniment for the guitar (after a short written out introduction).

Dos Canciones de la Casa de Bernarda Alba (Una Obra de Federico Garcia Lorca)

De facil a intermedio nivel. Alymar Publications. $10, CD $5.

  1. Ovejita

    Voz femenina a cappella o con el acompanamiento de la guitarra.

    Cancion algo emocional cantada por una mujer vieja un poco desconcertada

    Dificultad: moderado facil. La parte de la guitarra mezcla rasqueado y el solo acompanamiento de la nota.

  2. Ya Salen Los Segadores

    Coro de hombres y guitarra.

    Esta cancion corta refleja el espiritu de los trabajadores en el campo y sus relaciones con las mujeres de la aldea.

    Folklorico en naturaleza con el acompanamiento simple de rasguear para la guitarra (despues de una corta introduccion escrita).

Three Madrigals

8 minutes. Difficulty varies.

SATB, and also available for voice and piano.

This is an a cappella version of songs based upon anonymous renaissance poems. This is also available as solo songs for voice and guitar.

These songs were comissioned by Western Maryland College.

  1. There is a Lady Sweet and Kind

    Two and a half minutes, Intermediate. This song captures the mood of light romantic innocence with just a hint of melancholy.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. Light hearted love song. Through composed but similar motives in each verse.

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.

I Want to Imagine YouTube

From Act I, Scene II of Lily

3 minutes, for tenor and piano (arranged from the orchestral score).

This song is sung by Seldon, the male lead. He and Lily have planned to meet in the garden of an estate where they are staying as guests. When he arrives Lily is feigning sleep. Seldon sings this to her before he wakes her.

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.

Is this the cost? The penalty I pay? YouTube

From Act II, Scene II of Lily

This is the tragic final aria of the opera. Lily sings it after hearing of the death of Seldon, her lover.

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) YouTube

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.

Afternoon on a Hill for voice and guitar (dedicated to Audrey Desjardins and Gabriel Jean)

1+ minute. Easy.

Arranged from the voice and piano cycle Three Poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Skywriting SoundCloud

Song cycle for voice and piano using poems of Linda Pastan (Linda Pastan chose the name for the cycle)

This cycle was written for Jessica Satava

  1. There Are Poems

    Laments the ideas that a poet has that never find their way to the written page.

  2. Spring

    A cute look at how we welcome spring after a long winter

  3. The Imperfect Paradise

    Asks how God might have felt if he had stopped work after the 5th day and not created mankind.

  4. Why are your poems so dark?

    Acknowledges the existence of dark and light as well as happiness and sadness as viable parts of life.

Two Last Songs SoundCloud

Two songs for voice and piano.

Written for Annie Gill.

  1. 1932

    Words by Linda Pastan

    Incredibly personal song expressing the realism that when you reach the age of 80 you know that death is just around the corner.

  2. When I am dead, my dearest

    Words by Christina Rossetti

    This is one of her most famous poems. Although she states quite clearly that she doesn’t care whether she will be remembered or mourned, because of the choice of subjects in the verses, there is an underlying feeling of contradiction.

April Twilight SoundCloud

For Soprano, Flute and Piano

4 minutes.

The lyrics for this song come from a poem by Willa Cather that she dedicated to two of her brothers in remembrance of the times when they played together as children.