The Apple Orchard

"The Apple Orchard" sets a poem of Dana Gioia. The poem was first published in The Hudson Review in the Spring of 2003.

The composer's note and one of the audio clips are made possible through a collaboration between the Hampsong Foundation and SongFest. In this audio clip, the performers are Victoria Browers, soprano, and Liza Stepanova, piano, and the performance took place at Pepperdine University at SongFest 2010.

Date: 2004Composer: Lori LaitmanText: Dana Gioia

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Composer's Note

“The dramatic arc of the poem as well as the beautiful image of ‘spring’s ephemeral cathedral’ drew me to ‘The Apple Orchard.’ This song is different from most of my others in that it begins and ends in the same key as well as using the same rhythmic figuration throughout. Repeated arpeggiated chords create tension and a build-up to ‘pure desire’ and the rhythmic anticipation of ‘Nothing consumed’ heightens the climax. The melodic cell of ‘Nothing’ repeats under the word ‘Everything,’ linking the two concepts musically. The strings of the piano capture the last of the singer’s sounds before restating the opening melody to end the song.”

–Lori Laitman


The Apple Orchard
by Dana Gioia

You won’t remember it–the apple orchard
We wandered through one April afternoon,
Climbing the hill behind the empty farm.

A city boy, I’d never seen a grove
Burst in full flower or breathed the bittersweet
Perfume of blossoms mingled with the dust.

A quarter mile of trees in fragrant rows
Arching above us. We walked the aisle,
Alone in spring’s ephemeral cathedral.

We had the luck, if you can call it that,
Of having been in love but never lovers
The bright flame burning, fed by pure desire.

Nothing consumed, such secrets brought to light!
There was a moment when I stood behind you,
Reached out to spin you toward me . . . but I stopped.

What more could I have wanted from that day?
Everything, of course. Perhaps that was the point–
To learn that what we will not grasp is lost.

Related Information



    Sheet Music

    The Apple Orchard

    Composer(s): Lori Laitman

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