Jonathan Santore, Composer
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“I Want to Die While You Love Me”

Listen to a performance by Susan Brinker, alto:


  • Score: $3 (reproduction rights for two scores; additional charge for hard copies)
  • For alto and piano
  • Secular text: poem by Georgia Douglas Johnson
  • 1:30
  • Difficulty rating (1-5): 3
  • View a PDF score excerpt
  • Purchase, request full review copy or more information, etc.

This passionate, languorous work sets a text by Georgia Douglas Johnson, one of the leading women of the Harlem Renaissance. It was composed for and premiered by alto Susan Brinker.

I Want to Die While You Love Me

I want to die while you love me,
While yet you hold me fair,
While laughter lies upon my lips
And lights are in my hair.

I want to die while you love me
And bear to that still bed
Your kisses—turbulent, unspent,
To warm me when I'm dead.

I want to die while you love me
Oh, who would care to live,
'Til love has nothing more to ask
And nothing more to give.

—Georgia Douglas Johnson (1880–1966)

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