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WorksVocal SoloThe Waking

The Waking (I Wake to Sleep)

Voicing: baritone and piano
Text: Theodore Roethke
Language: English
Duration: 7 min.
Premiere: 2012, The Schubert Club, Saint Paul, MN
Premiered by: Jake Endres, baritone; Ruth Palmer, piano
See the score: DOWNLOAD THE "PREVIEW SCORE" (pdf)
Published by: Abbie Betinis Music Co., AB-068-10
Order now: Order sheet music

Performed by Jake Endres (baritone) and Jeana Ogren (piano):

It is a fascinating process to grow 'alongside' a piece of art, like a poem - like this poem - for many years, and to find oneself connecting to it differently upon each read-through. Perhaps a line flits through the mind while watching a sunrise, or a child learning to walk, or a loved one age and ultimately pass away. Until, over time, this inanimate collection of words on a page becomes something like a friend - the enigmatic friend who always replies, "Well, what do YOU think?" This friend, during the eight-month process of composing this piece, has been for me a catalyst, a gadfly, the source of a few new teardrop stains on my grand piano, and - ultimately - a comfort.

I dedicate this composition to my oncologist (Dr. V__), whose wisdom has guided me through more than a few of life's riddles, and who (perhaps inadvertently) continues to teach me the difference between where I have to go, and where I have to go. Thank you.
- Abbie Betinis, 2012

The Waking Theodore Roethke
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me, so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

"The Waking", copyright 1945 by Theodore Roethke, from COLLECTED POEMS OF THEODORE ROETHKE by Theodore Roethke. Used by permission of Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc.

This text may NOT be reprinted from this website except for use in concert programs related to this particular musical work.

Jake Endres, baritone; Ruth Palmer, piano (The Schubert Club, Saint Paul, MN)
Jake Endres, baritone; Jean Ogren, piano (Concordia University-St Paul, MN)

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