Do you know the white tomb
Where with a plaintive sound floats
The shadow of a yew-tree?
On the yew-tree a pale dove,
Sad and alone in the setting sun,
Sings its song.
One would say that the awakened soul
Weeps under the earth in unison
With the song
And of the misfortunes of having been forgotten
Oh! Never more near the tomb
Shall I go, when evening descends
With its dark mantle
To hear the pale dove
Sing, on the branch of the yew-tree
Its plaintive song!
This song starts off with a very sluggish…death march feel…where the chords keep descending.. Then the voice comes in and French is an extremely legato language which when sung in connection with this very mysterious and haunting accompaniment creates a mourning like effect. The song seems to just keep going like the day to day activities where the tomb is always the same with only the moans of those who have gone and the lonely bird that sits alone with them…..
Then, there is a sudden change in character where the piano part picks up tempo and the texture and density is creating a more full and rolling effect as if someone is running away from the tomb in a hurry to never return. Then the voice comes in with a “scream” of OH!!! Never more neat the tomb shall I go….it is too lonely and scary when the sun goes down to be there with the dove and death alone…
The song then enters the A section again to slow things down and end it with a mysterious feeling because no one can really stay there to see what all goes on…. Fun song…and beautiful writing…