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Kandice Dickinson sings Ricky Ian Gordon's setting of Emily Dickinson poem "Will There Really Be a Morning"
"Our job is to make music with what remains." - Itzhak Perlman
With my thanks and apologies to Ricky Ian Gordon, here is one stanza of his glorious setting of one of my cousin Emily Dickinson's poems which I am performing "with what remains" of my voice. I have posted a link below where you can listen to the stunning cycle, "Too Few the Morning's Be", of which this is the closing piece beautifully performed by a healthy soprano and pianist team.
Before contracting ME/CFS I enjoyed a very active life, and had the privilege of spending almost 20 years in my chosen profession of classical singing and teaching.
The Summer of 2000 I was happy to be asked to perform a recital for the Emily Dickinson International Society. I featured a dozen of Emily's poem settings by various composers (link below to a video recording of this, and other performances).
Sadly, this was roughly the time when Mr. Gordon's cycle was hot off the press, so I never had the chance to perform his Emily Dickinson songs, because, on the 170th anniversary Emily's birth, 10 December 2000, I came down with a severe flu-like illness from which I have never recovered. Diagnosed in 2001 as severe ME/CFS, I have been mostly house/bed-bound ever since, still experiencing fluctuating levels of fever, nausea, intense pain, leaden-limbs and a myriad of other symptoms every day. A "forced recluse", if you will, though for different reasons than cousin Emily.
Conditions like ME/CFS are traditionally classified as being "all in your head" when they first appear. While other syndromes like MS and Parkinson's have long since been taken seriously, they, like ME/CFS, were once classified as forms of hysteria. Fortunately, patients with these conditions are given, if not curative treatment, at least recognition of how complex and serious the conditions are, treatment options, and significant research funding.
#Bedfest is a way for those of us unlucky enough to have "drawn" the ME/CFS card out of the "disease hat" to let our voices be heard. To raise awareness that we are STILL HERE, although we may be missing from any kind of normal life. And to request recognition of, and meaningful research funding leading to eventual viable treatment options for this devastating illness.
Thank you for your kindness in taking the time to listen and share - helping me and my fellow ME/CFS patients who "lost a world the other day" to have hope that there will be a chance for us to find "Where the place called 'Morning' lies!"
My last two performances before becoming mostly bedbound from severe ME/CFS on 10 December 2000:
1. Kandice Dickinson, soprano & Kathleen Kraulik, piano | Recital for the Emily Dickinson International Society | 13 August 2000 | Concordia University | St. Paul, MN
2. Kandice Dickinson, soprano & Kathleen Kraulik, piano | 40th Birthday Recital | 28 October 2000 | Home of Amy Martin | St. Paul, MN
"Too Few the Mornings Be", Eleven Songs for Soprano and Piano, Music by Ricky Ian Gordon, Words by Emily Dickinson, performed by Elizabeth Zharoff & Don St. Pierre in 2009:
Will there really be a "Morning"?
Is there such a thing as "Day"?
Could I see it from the mountains
If I were as tall as they?
Has it feet like Water lilies?
Has it feathers like a Bird?
Is it brought from famous countries*
Of which I have never heard?
Oh some Scholar! Oh some Sailor!
Oh some Wise Man from the skies!
Please to tell a little Pilgrim
Where the place called "Morning" lies!
-Emily Dickinson (10 December 1830 - 15 May 1886)
*I accidentally sang "Does it come from far off places" - I'm afraid that the effort required for me to sing in this video crashed me too severely to record it a second time with corrected words - I dare to believe that cousin Emily would understand and forgive "the little hand that knocked"!