An Island in the Moon

Baritone voice and piano; 4 minutes

I wrote this song for two great performers who happen to be very close friends. Tyler's smooth and beautiful voice lends itself perfectly to the long and languid lines of this composition. The music, especially in the piano part, really signifies the starkness and despair of Blake's words. The first line is set in a quasi-folksong manner, but disolves into an ambiguous and evocative accompaniment to the remaining text. The first line returns in the middle and at the end of the song to offer both a compositional framework and a symbolical frame of reference to a more stable emotional state.

Premiered in December, 1999 at the U.B.C. Recital Hall, Vancouver, B.C.

Tyler Duncan, baritone
Erika Switzer, piano

Recorded excerpts

An Island in the Moon

William Blake (1757-1827)

Leave, O leave [me] to my sorrows;
Here I'll sit and fade away,
Till I'm nothing but a spirit,
And I lose this form of clay.

Then if chance along this forest
Any walk in pathless ways,
Thro' the gloom he'll see my shadow
Hear my voice upon the breeze.

Tyler and Erika now live in Germany and perform regularly around Europe and Canada.

head shot
Photo by Alex Waterhouse Hayward

Learn more about Tyler and Erika at and