The Road Not Taken

SATB div./Piano & Cello; Editor’s Choice, J.W. Pepper; US Publisher: Carl Fischer CM9704 (SATB version); (also published for SSAA/Piano/Cello); Robert Lee Frost, poet; Duration 4:40 minutes.

Few American poems are as well known as The Road Not Taken, published in 1915.  It supersedes geography, race, or creed.  Rather, it is a “credo for humanity” – a challenge to individualism and stepping out on one’s own, regardless of the odds. (Of course, Frost has many literary devices here, and many seemingly contradictory lines for literary scholars to discuss, but the central focus, if you will, relates to how one decision in life affects the next.) Frost connects to the human spirit in just a few stanzas, using the analogy of a fork in the road.  As in many of his other poems (such as The Pasture), he takes a seemingly straight-forward, uncomplicated  rural scene, and brings a perspective to human existence.

The SATB version of this work was recorded by THE NEW AMERICAN VOICES, under Randall’s direction.


SSAA/PIANO/CELLO – Carl Fischer CM 9750

Commissioned by Dr. and Mrs. Charles Walvoord in appreciation of heroic M.D.’s (Musical Doctors), and to honor the memory of their beautiful daughter, Kristi.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.