Wild Nights

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Among the thirteen songs in Ernst Bacon's Songs from Emily Dickinson is his setting of "Wild Nights," a passionate tribute to love. Bacon has provided the singer with ample opportunity for vocal display with the melisma on the last phrase, which is immediately followed by a fairly lengthy postlude for piano. With its brisk tempo and tempestuous mood, "Wild Nights" serves as an exciting closer to a recital program.

"Wild Nights" is published in Songs From Emily Dickinson for Medium/High Voice and Piano. The collection is published by Classical Vocal Repertoire.

Image: Emily Dickinson, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing right, 1864, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

Wild Nights

Although Bacon's choice of poetry for his song settings is vast, he is recognized for his settings of American poets, including Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson. Bacon confirmed his preference for setting texts by the latter poet in his book Words on Music (Syracuse University Press, 1960), when he observed that in "America we have a wealth of lyric poetry calling for song, particularly the contributions of the women, beginning with Emily Dickinson…"


Performers and scholars have ranked Bacon's Dickinson settings among the best in the repertoire and have considered him to be one of Dickinson's best interpreters. Few of Bacon's songs have been published separately. Rather, most of his songs have been issued in collections, and quite often a song will appear in more than one collection, usually in a revised version. One such collection is Bacon's Songs from Emily Dickinson, which was self-published by the composer.


--Library of Congress


Wild Nights — Wild Nights! (poem 249)
by Emily Dickinson


Wild Nights — Wild Nights!
Were I with thee
Wild Nights should be
Our luxury!


Futile — the Winds —
To a Heart in port —
Done with the Compass —
Done with the Chart!


Rowing in Eden —
Ah, the Sea!
Might I but moor — Tonight —
In Thee!


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