The sheet music of Man-Ching Donald Yu

A chamber opera 'The death of the hired man'

Man-Ching Donald Yu
Walter Wykes
Man-Ching Donald Yu
Classical / Opera
Piano, Voice
Scored for
Soloists, Accompanying piano
Type of score
Piano-vocal score
Year of composition

The chamber opera “The death of the hired man” is scored for two voices and piano. The idea of having a chamber opera scored for piano and voices was adopted by some 20th century composers such as England composer Michael Finnissy’s “Therese Raqu” as well as Italian composer Gian Carlo Menotti’s “Telephone.”
The libretto was written by Walter Wykes and was derived from a poem written by Robert Frost. The subject matter of the drama consists of a couple that lives in a farmhouse. At the beginning, Mary sits nearby the house waiting for Warren to arrive home. When she sees him she mentions that Silas returns. The couple starts talking about Silas and Mary describes how worn out Silas looks. They keep mentioning about how he used to labor on the farm in the past and the young boy who used to work with him together before, is now an accomplished scholar whom Silas's dislike. Mary then informs Warren that Silas would return to their place to die and how he regards this place as his home. Warren also mentions Silas’s rich brother and how Silas is not willing to go to visit him because of his pride. Warren goes inside the house to see how Silas is doing and after he comes out, he tells Mary that he is dead. Generally speaking, the central theme of the story clearly expresses the contrasts of life and death, family and friendship, as well as home and belonging.
The dramatic music begins the story with three repeated figures. The traditional length of overture is shortened and here is only functioned as a kind of introductory material. In the piece, different kinds of eclectic musical materials are employed such as chromatic materials, diatonic materials, whole-tone fragments as well as minimalistic element. There are several arias in the opera and most often the melodic lines are lyrical while blended with diatonic and modal harmonic materials. Approaching the end of the opera, several ostinatic materials emerge and these build the music up to a climax. The opera ends with a gravitational pull to a lower pitch on D.

Upload date
23 Jan 2012


Sheet music file
30.00 USD
PDF, 13.72 Mb (57 p.)


Log in to post a comment