Stan Charkey's 'Vermont Headstones' Brings Past Reflections To Life

Apr 23, 2015

Marlboro College music professor Stan Charkey has written a new work and it’s one that poignantly brings to life quiet moments from Vermont’s history.

Vermont Headstones is a cycle of 12 songs for baritone, oboe and viola that uses poetic inscriptions from historic Vermont cemeteries for the lyrics. The piece had its world premiere in November of 2014. Professor Charkey joined VPR Classical to talk about what inspired this project and the previously unknown Vermonters whose stories became songs.

Several lyric selections from the 12 songs:

Dr. Samuel Stearns (Brattleboro)

Sacred to the memory of Doctor Samuel Stearns L.L.D.
Who died August eighth eighteen-ten aged sixty three
Self-taught, Nature was his preceptor,
Philosophy his mistress and astronomy his prompter.
Disappointment ever succeeded his best endeavors-
He deserved better.
Ingratitude was the reward of his labors.
Peace to his ashes

Mrs. Elizabeth Gilmore (Castleton)
In memory of Mrs. Elizabeth Gilmore
Relict of Mr. Jonathan Gilmore
She was an early professor of religion
Adorned her profession by an exemplary life
And conversation

Joseph Porter Baldwin (Dorset)
In memory of Joseph Porter Baldwin
Son of Silas and Sarah Baldwin
Who died April twenty-sixth I S H
In the sixth year of his age.
His death occasioned by
Accidently falling under the pitman of a sawmill
Terminating his existence.

Performed by Daren Jackson, baritone, Mark Hill, oboe and Katherine Murdock, viola.

Broadcast Friday, April 24 at 8:30 a.m.