Site: Art Songs and Cycles by M. Ryan Taylor

I first became aware of the music of M. Ryan Taylor when he became a registered user of Art Song Central. I went to his website and listened to his music, and was impressed with what I heard.

He’s taken an approach to his career as a composer which bucks the traditional model of squeezing every penny out of every distribution channel available. Instead, to counter the difficulty of “getting the word out”, he has offered his sheet music for free download on his website. He does accept donations, though, and if you perform his music (this goes for all living composers, when possible) you should forward him performance information so he can document his share of ASCAP royalties.

Here are some of the songs and cycles available on his site:

All Heaven and it was One Hour Old
Available in versions for both High and Medium voice, this cycle of 5 songs is based on the Christmas poetry of Katherine Tynan. At this link, Mr. Taylor also includes YouTube video of the entire set. [The text of the fifth song seems deliberately similar (or vice versa) to the John Masefield text “An Old Song Re-Sung” found here in a setting by Charles Griffes.]

  1. The Christmas Bird
  2. All Heaven and it was One Hour Old
  3. Bethlehem
  4. Bring Him Peace
  5. Old Song Re-Sung

The Song of Wandering Aengus
A single song for medium voice to a text by William Butler Yeats.

A Light that Shames the Noonday Sun
Another cycle of 5 songs, this one has a distinctly dramatic narrative, and is based on a visionary experience of Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of Mormonism. It is available in editions for High and Medium voice.

  1. Where is the Truth?
  2. If Any of You Lack Wisdom
  3. The Grove
  4. A Light that Shames the Noonday Sun
  5. The Standard of Truth

Leafs from The Diary of an Old Soul
Another cycle of 5 songs, to texts by George MacDonald, a mentor of C.S. Lewis. Available in medium high and medium low editions.

  1. Thy Fishes Breathe
  2. Come to me Lord
  3. Gloriously Wasteful
  4. Childness Fresh
  5. To Part for Praise

The Moon Songs
A cycle of 7 songs to texts by Vachel Lindsay. [The text for the first of these songs also has a wonderful setting by Jake Heggie.] Available in high and medium low editions.

  1. What Grandpa Told the Children
  2. What the Hyena Said
  3. The Moon’s the North Wind’s cooky
  4. What the Miner in the Desert Said
  5. What the Rattlesnake Said
  6. The Strength of the Lonely
  7. What the Man of Faith Said

La Belle Dame sans Merci
A cycle of three songs based on a text by John Keats. Available in medium high and medium low editions.

  1. The Harvest is Done
  2. Spring Remembrance
  3. The Awakening

Lions, Spiders & Flies
A set of 2 songs to texts by Vachel Lindsay. Taylor says they “make a humorous addition to any concert, but [are] especially apt for a Halloween event.”

  1. The Lion
  2. The Spider and the Ghost of the Fly

There are other songs available on his site, as is information and materials about his opera The Other Wise Man.