In Arcady by Moonlight, 1914. Gena Branscombe, 1881-1977. A. P. Schmidt Collection. Music Division, Library of Congress. Call number: ML1570.B
Also published as a solo song, Branscombe's choral setting (SSA) was issued by Arthur P. Schmidt Co., Boston, in 1914. The text is by Kendall Banning (1879-1914) and refers to a mythical utopian place, a pastoral vision in which all is in harmony with nature. The poem begins, "In Arcady by moonlight (where only lovers go), there is a pool where fairest of all the roses grow." In Branscombe's setting that last phrase is set ppp rit. to a questioning augmented-fifth leap in the alto. The consequent phrase, "Why are the moonlit roses so sweet beyond compare? Among the purple shadows my love is waiting there." At "so sweet," Branscombe introduces an exotic chromaticism from a C-sharp-minor chord to a C-major chord. The opening theme returns, "To Arcady by moonlight the paths are open wide! Only joy can enter and only joy abide." The last phrase contains a daring enharmonic chord progression in which the D-sharp of a B-major chord becomes E-flat of an F dominant-seventh chord leading directly to the fortissimo climax of the piece on a tonic A-major chord, "There is the peace unending that perfect faith can know." The closing phrase, "In Arcady by moonlight where only lovers go," repeats the F-seventh/A-major progression on the last two words, rit. e dim.