John B Hedges

composer & musician

Over Yondro (2002)

original version for string orchestra

chamber version for string quintet

Duration: 11'

Program Notes:

“Over Yondro” is a work about absence, longing and hope of reunion. At its heart is an instrumental setting of an American folk song called ‘He’s Gone Away’ or sometimes ‘Over Yondro.’ The original song is in two verses. The first by a young woman whose lover is leaving, most likely to fight in the Civil War and she questions whether she will ever see him again. The second, more optimistic verse is that of her lover who reassures her of his return. Both verses are set wordlessly within the work, but around the settings is woven original music that develops the more complicated emotional subtext of this beautiful simple tune. A version of the original folk song text is given below:

Young woman (1st verse):

He’s Gone away
For to stay a little while,
But he’s comin’ back
Though he goes ten thousand miles. (Look away over yondro)
O who will tie my shoes?
And who will glove my hand?
And who will kiss my ruby lips when you are gone? (Look away over yondro)

Soldier (2nd verse):

I’m gone away
For to stay a little while,
But I’m comin’ back
Though I go ten thousand miles. (Look away over Yondro)
Your mother will tie your shoes.
Your daddy will glove your hand,
And I will kiss your ruby lips when I return. (Look away over yondro)

Performance materials for the original string orchestra version available for rental.  For more information contact