Joseph Waddell Clokey (August 28, 1890, New Albany, Indiana – September 14, 1960, Covina, California) was an educator, organist and composer of sacred and secular music in the first half of the 20th Century. A student of Edgar Stillman Kelley, he served as dean of the School of Fine Arts at his alma mater, Miami University 1939-46 and had previously been professor of organ at Miami University (1916–1923) and Pomona College. His work included two symphonies including the "Dorian" Symphony, two orchestral suites, a string quartet, a cello and violin sonata, twelve choral works in large form, five operas, organ suites, many organ pieces, and more than a hundred published choral works.
Clokey's father (also named Joseph Clokey) was a Presbyterian pastor, and this was certainly an influence on the younger Joseph Clokey's focus on sacred music. He was one of the most widely sung composers in churches during the 1950s.
His son, Art Clokey, was the creator of clay animation characters Gumby, Pokey and Davey and Goliath. (You have to be an American of a certain age to appreciate what this means!)
This intense piece is based upon a traditional song, "He's gone away", and if you follow the score, which I strongly suggest, you'll see not only the words, but you'll understand why the piece is written as it is. It's ravishingly beautiful, but also very dissonant in spots. It's very intense, and not easy to play this.
The score is attached.
I first heard this song on "The Munsters" TV show, when Lily (Yvonne DeCarlo) sang it while accompanying herself on the harp... ;-)
Clokey, who is mostly forgotten these days, wrote a lot of interesting and colorful music, and you can find quite of few of pieces here: