“When Love Falls Apart” and the Beauty of Melancholy

Creative influences, Creative Writing, Love, Lyrics, Music, Performing, Record releases, Recording Sessions, Songwriting, Writing / Saturday, September 29th, 2012

A poet is a nightingale who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds.”  ― Percy Bysshe Shelley

Breaking up with someone you truly loved is one of the hardest things to do. To actively break up things, like dividing up furniture, pets, photos – and even friends – keeps the excruciating pain out of reaching distance for a while. But after the sorting out is done and the fights are over, the wounds heal only very slowly. The feeling of despair and tragedy smothers your life like a grey, wet blanket for a very long time. The ballad “When Love Falls Apart” grew out of exactly these feelings of deep melancholy.

For me, it is still a very emotional song to sing because every time it brings up all of these old and painful memories and emotions. Ironically, however, the song marks both an end and a beginning: “When Love Falls Apart” was the very first song Greg Porée –a versatile guitarist and jazz composer– and I wrote together. I had almost completed the lyrics and had a hooky and suitable melody for the chorus but the verses were still incomplete. We took it from there: Greg came up with some lovely additional chords, the rest of the melody just wrote itself and suddenly we finished the song fairly quickly.

Handwritten charts are something very personal and are frequently of sentimental value for the writer/s. Here’s a lovely visual collection of other composer’s music scores. The Morgan Library & Museum in New York houses one of the finest collections of music manuscripts in the United States. In addition to a large collection of musicians’ letters and first editions of scores and librettos, its collection of manuscripts (by classical composers like Mahler, Brahms, Chopin, Debussy, Mozart, Schubert, and Richard Strauss) spans six centuries and many countries.

Composing a song can be very labourous but also fulfilling. I always keep an original, handwritten manuscript of all of my songs. It’s like keeping a baby picture of your child although it’s already grown up. For me, a song has “grown up” when it has been professionally recorded. Here’s a copy of the original chart Greg wrote:


I recorded the track as a demo but not as a professional recording for release until playing an unplugged show at the famous singer-songwriter music venue Genghis Cohen in Los Angeles: Accompanying me on classical guitar was my co-writer and that evening, we played the ballad for the first time live. The way the song came to life and people connected to it, motivated me to record it as a single to just “get it out there”. Although I was already working on songs for my album it just felt right to release that version as a single – just with voice and classical guitar.

Designing the cover was inspired by a very tender and touching quote by Virginia Woolf. Melancholy is one theme that runs rampant through her writing. Her image of a singing bird amidst a moonscape depicts so well this pensive emotion into which both sorrow and joy, profoundness and beauty are woven.

“The melancholy river bears us on. When the moon comes through the trailing willow boughs, I see your face, I hear your voice and the bird singing as we pass the osier bed. What are you whispering? Sorrow, sorrow. Joy, joy. Woven together, like reeds in moonlight.” – Virginia Woolf


Listen to and purchase an mp3 the recording here:


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Please support the arts! You can purchase my music and spoken word – which I hope you will. If you find joy and inspiration in my words and would like to provide additional support, please be lovely and consider a donation of your choosing – from anywhere between a coffee and a nice dinner. It will be deeply appreciated.

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