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lay thee down to die (2023)

for SATB choir, a cappella (and rehearsal piano)

ca. 4 minutes

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Lay Thee Down to Die (2023)

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The joys that touched thee once,

The sympathies of sky and sea,

The friendship of each rock and pine,

That made thy lonely life, ah me!

Such joy as thou did’st feel when first, 

On some wild crag, thou stood alone,

To watch the mountain tempest burst,

With streaming thunder, lightning sown,

Thy awe! Thy dreams! Thy wisdom! Thy hope!

These were thine all in all life’s moods,

Embracing all of happiness!

And when within thy long-loved woods,

Did lay thee down to die, no less!

Thy happiness stood by to bless

Madison Julius Cawein

Completed: 22/02/2023

Revised: 31/05/2024

manuscript score of Lay Thee Down to Die

program notes

When my grandmother passed away in February of 2023, I had the insistent urge to write a short piece in her memory, and to work through the emotions I was feeling at the time. 

No ideas for a piece came, until I stumbled across this long poem by 19th Century American poet Madison Julius Cawein which struck me immediately with its poetic imagination. It so captured the thoughts I was having at the time. I made a selection of the most the most fitting stanzas and got to work.

Normally I work on pieces for weeks and months at a time, but this short choral work was written in just about one or two days. The text raptured my creativity, and it just came flowing from my pencil. 

I hope hearing or performing this work will give you the same restitude and solace as it gave me writing it.


Artboard 1

Heartachingly beautiful piece of music. I love the harmonies you use. Very efficient and light with some truly dramatic and crunchy chords thrown in for colour; though never feeling random.

— Jonny

Artboard 1

Thoroughly captivating and moving music. It's also a pleasure to be able to read alongside your original manuscript score. Makes it feel more personal and intimate.

— jacques tournier

portrait of milo paulus


Milo Paulus (b. August 14th, 1999) is a Dutch composer, conductor, orchestrator and score producer specializing in original music for concerts, screen and stage productions. His catalog spans a diverse range of styles and influences for both instrumental and vocal works, as well as countless original soundtracks for films and video-games. His works have been commissioned by various performing groups, festivals and institutions.

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