Without You (2017)

for soprano, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, trombone, violin, bass, and drum set

Duration: ca. 5'00"

Written for the Deviant Septet and Mellissa Hughes

  • First Reading
    February 7, 2017
    The Deviant Septet and Mellissa Hughes
    Baldwin Auduitorium, Duke University
    Durham, NC

Originally written for Mellissa Hughes and the Deviant Septet, Without You is a pop song for soprano voice accompanied by that oh-so-typical pop instrumentation of clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, trombone, violin, bass, and drum set borrowed from Stravinsky’s l’Histoire du Soldat. The song’s lyrics are from the perspective of someone fantasizing about the possibility of getting back together with an old flame who is newly-available. While the song follows a more or less standard verse-chorus from, the tonal structure is progressive, with each verse set in a different key. The lyrics mirror this tonal progression, with the song’s persona first appearing excited about the possibility of a reunion, but conflicted about whether to act on it. Over the course of the song they realize this hope is a fantasy, and their remembrance of the reasons things didn’t work out in the first place brings them back to reality.


I heard that you are alone now 
You and I had our chance but that was then
We should not, can not, will not be together

Driving home my heart is racing
My mind is spinning, thoughts are wandering
Can’t explain this thrill I’m feeling
Breaking down, can’t catch my breath

Park my car, get out and I stumble
Lost in thought I wander around
Planning what to say if I
Turn around and find I’m facing you

Mmm, let’s pretend we’re not too late
Mmm, let’s pretend that this time will be different
Mmm, let’s pretend that I’m not afraid

At your door and now I remember
Remember how you let me down
I can’t forgive you now I’m sorry
I wish I could but don’t know how

Hear the phone ring, see your number
What am I supposed to do?
I don’t answer, cause I 
Know that I am better (off) without you