The Road Home – Stephen Paulus (1949-2014)

Stephen Paulus was quite possibly the most prolific composer that you have never heard of. He managed to fit in 11 operas, 31 symphonic works, 18 concertos and a whole host of other music into his 65 years.

The Road Home is one of his reflective choral works, which when I first sang it, struck me as deeply spiritual:

  • Tell me, where is the road
  • I can call my own,
  • That I left, that I lost
  • So long ago?
  • All these years I have wandered,
  • Oh when will I know
  • There’s a way, there’s a road
  • That will lead me home?

 

  • After wind, after rain,
  • When the dark is done,
  • As I wake from a dream
  • In the gold of day,
  • Through the air there’s a calling
  • From far away,
  • There’s a voice I can hear
  • That will lead me home.

 

  • Rise up, follow me,
  • Come away, is the call,
  • With the love in your heart
  • As the only song;
  • There is no such beauty
  • As where you belong;
  • Rise up, follow me,
  • I will lead you home.

For me, this is written from the perspective of the lost sheep. Having wandered away from the flock, this sheep is lost and alone in the darkness, wind and rain. The Good Shepherd, leaving the other 99 sheep safely in their fold, walks out over the hills and moors searching and calling for the lost sheep. Reunited, the Shepherd leads the sheep home without chastising him. There is only love and joy that he has been found.

There are times when we all feel lost and alone in the darkness, wind and rain. It’s a cold and lonely place to be. The thing is to listen. Keep listening with faith. Sooner or later you will hear the call to rise up and follow, to be led home.

This music is a firm favourite with school and college choirs. Every year a cohort is lost as they move on to their next phase of life. But they go with the blessing of their teachers and younger students, with knowledge that they are always welcome back to visit and share their news. It is the happy sadness of planned and natural parting.

I think I would like this to be sung at my funeral, to send me on my journey Home.

You can listen to a superb recording of Conspirare singing this song here: https://youtu.be/LbwhSP3ZIq4

Carol P


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