work details

When I Was Eight

  • Instrumentation: SATB and piano
  • Completed: November 2017
  • Duration: 5 minutes
  • Texts: "When I Was Eight" by Robert Bode
  • Video:
    • When I Was Eight

      Choral Chameleon Chorus
      Vince Peterson, artistic director
      Hee Sung Kim, piano
      Robyn Prezioso, visual artist
      Text by Robert Bode

  • Audio:
  • Score Preview:
  • Commission and Dedication:

    Commissioned by and dedicated to the Conservatory Singers of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Robert Bode, conductor

  • Program Note:

    It was in Minneapolis for the National ACDA conference in March of 2017 when Robert Bode heard my work, “All Is,” for chorus, mezzo-soprano, viola, and piano. After the reading session, he came up to me immediately, saying: “I want you to set my poetry.” I was flattered and humbled by his response to my music, and I said: “Of course! Send me some poems!” Thus began our collaboration…!

    Robert sent me a collection of poems, and this particular text—written on vacation in Marrowstone Island—captured me almost instantaneously with its associations of memory, nostalgia, wonder, and child-like discovery. It was practically brimming over with music, waiting to be given a sonic frame. “When I was eight” wears its heart on its sleeve, with fanciful pianistic flourishes requiring “Craft so dearly bought,” choral sonorities which will benefit from “the pride of small-tuned things,” and quixotic quotations “of Beethoven and Barber and Bach and Brahms.”

    I dedicate this work fondly to Robert, whose poetry of ebullient energy and ecstatic enthusiasm I can only hope is faithfully mirrored in my music.

    -- Dominick DiOrio, November 2017

  • Text:

    When I Was Eight
    by Robert Bode (Marrowstone Island, August 2015)

    Each night I’d mount the stage alone
    (a small red rug with fraying trim)
    And stand before the Magnavox,
         When I was eight.

    I’d move my arms and lunge and leap
                with cheeks aflame,
    And ride volcanic waves
    Of Beethoven and Barber and Bach and Brahms,
         When I was eight.

    I’d join the eagles in their flight
    And hear the jackals call;
    The stars would shudder in their sockets,
    And stallions would flash in the sun!

    Today I feel what knowledge brings,
                and Craft, so dearly bought:
    The pride of small-tuned things
    And the pleasures of the fine.

    But oh, I long to feel again
    The wonder and the flight:
    As when I’d close my eyes,
    And lift my arms,
    And lead the holy angels
    In their Hallelujah song,
                    When I was eight.

  • Performances:
    • Fall 2018 (TBD)
      University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory Singers
      Robert Bode, conductor
    • May 5, 2018
      Choral Arts Northwest
      Robert Bode, conductor
      Plymouth Church - Seattle, WA
    • May 6, 2018
      Choral Arts Northwest
      Robert Bode, conductor
      Trinity Episcopal Church - Seattle, WA
    • November 22, 2019
      Choral Chameleon
      Vince Peterson, artistic director
      Irondale Center - Brooklyn, NY
    • November 23, 2019
      Choral Chameleon
      Vince Peterson, artistic director
      Irondale Center - Brooklyn, NY