Gentle Words (Shaker song collected by Alma McGill, arranged by Scott Gendel) (text: Polly Rupe) duet for soprano, tenor, and piano (also available for solo voice & piano); 4' (2020)
text: What the dew is to the flower, Gentle words are to the soul, And a blessing to the giver, And so dear to the receiver We should never withhold.
Gentle words, kindly spoken, Often soothe the troubled mine, While links of love are broken By words that are unkind.
Then O, thou gentle spirit, my constant guardian be, "Do to others," be my motto, "As I'd have them do to me."
composer’s note: "Gentle Words" is a lovely, mostly forgotten song from 19th century Shaker tradition. The text is so simple & lovely, a balm for the soul. It's a beautiful melody, but usually performed in a dirge-like manner, so in this arrangement I kept the melody straightforward, but added some warmer harmonies and more movement & change overall, to surround the original melody in a warm, soothing light.