The Diaries of Adam and Eve for violin, double bass and optional narrators | Michael Daugherty, composer

The Diaries of Adam and Eve
for violin, double bass and optional narrators (2016)

Instrumentation: Violin and double bass

Publisher:  Michael Daugherty Music

Music by Michael Daugherty
Words by Mark Twain (adapted by the composer)

  1. Genesis
  2. Eve’s Lament
  3. Eden
  4. Adam’s Lament
  5. Serpent
  6. Apple
  7. Wondrous Love

Program Note:

The Diaries of Adam and Eve (2016) for violin, double bass and optional narrators, was commissioned by Martha Walvoord and Jack Unzicker with funding provided by the University of Texas at Arlington.  The world premiere took place in Irons Recital Hall on the campus of the University of Texas at Arlington on April 28, 2016 performed by Martha Walvoord, violin, and Jack Unzicker, double bass, with the optional narration provided by Karen Kenaston (Eve) and David Grogan (Adam).

The Diaries of Adam and Eve is inspired by a novella of the same name by Mark Twain (1835-1910) published in 1906. Divided into seven movements, the music I have composed animates Twain’s witty reimagining of the biblical tale of the first woman and man to inhabit the earth and the Garden of Eden.

The music also reflects the author’s droll ruminations on the complex and contradictory dualities of man and woman, good and evil, and love and hate. There are also poignant musical moments: the diaries are believed to have been written by Twain as a posthumous love-letter to his beloved wife Olivia Landgon Clemens who died before him in 1904.  The story ends with Adam lamenting upon Eve’s death: “Wherever she was, there was Eden.”

–Michael Daugherty

Performance Note:

  • While the optional narration may be performed by the two instrumentalists, it is preferred that the narration be performed by two narrators or actors who are experienced in dramatic speaking and elocution.
  • In performance, the two optional narrators are separated stage left and stage right.
  • The narration is spoken before each instrumental movement is performed.
  • The narrators should stand when performing the narration and sit while the music is performed.
  • In a large hall, it is recommended that the narrators be slightly amplified.

Stage Arrangement:

Violin                                                              Double Bass

Narrator (Eve)                                                                                               Narrator (Adam)
(optional)                                                                                                        (optional)



Dear Diary. This new creature with the long hair is a good deal in the way. It is always hanging around and following me about. I don’t like this: I am not used to company. I wish it would stay with the other animals.

It tapers like a carrot. I think it is a man. I had never seen a man, but it looked like one, and I feel sure that that is what it is.

I was afraid of it at first, for I thought it was going to chase me, but by and by I found it was only trying to get away, so I tracked it along, several hours, which made it nervous and unhappy. At last it was a good deal worried, and climbed a tree. I waited a while, then gave up and went home. Today the same thing over. I got it up the tree again.

Been examining the great waterfall. It is the finest thing on the estate, I think. The new creature calls it Niagara Falls — why, I am sure I do not know.



He took no interest in my name. I tried to hide my disappointment, but I suppose I did not succeed.

He talks very little. Perhaps it is because he is not bright and is sensitive about it and wishes to conceal it. It is such a pity that he should feel so, for brightness is nothing; it is in the heart that the values lie. I wish I could make him understand that a loving good heart is riches enough, and that without it intellect is poverty.

My name is Eve. I am a she, and not an it, and I was made out of a rib taken from your body. You can call out “Eve”, whenever you want me to come to you.



Hello. (No response, goes to other side)


Do you know where we are?

(To audience) I had a very good name for the estate, and it was musical and pretty — Garden of Eden.

But it’s all woods and rocks and scenery and bears no resemblance to a garden. It looks like a park, and does not look like anything but a park. Therefore, it is called Niagara Falls Park.

She fell in the pond yesterday when she was looking at herself in it, which she is always doing. She nearly strangled, which made her feel sorry for the creatures which live there, which she calls “fish.” She continues to fasten names on to things which don’t need them, and don’t come when they are called by them. Anyway, she got a lot of them out and brought them in last night, and put them in my bed to keep warm, but I have noticed them now and then all day and I don’t see that they are any happier than they were before, only quieter. When night comes I shall put them outdoors. I will not sleep with them again, for I find them clammy and unpleasant to lie among.



I wish it would not talk. It is always talking. And this new sound is so close to me. It is right at my shoulder, right at my ear, first on one side and then on the other.

My life is not as happy as it was.



She has taken up with a snake now. The other animals are glad, for she was always experimenting with them and bothering them; and I am glad because the snake talks, and this enables me to get a rest.

She says the snake advises her to try the fruit of that tree, and the result will be a fine and noble education. I told her there would be another result, too—it would introduce death in the world. I advised her to keep away from the tree. She said she wouldn’t. I foresee trouble. Will emigrate.


  1. APPLE

It used to be so pleasant and quiet here. This morning found the new creature trying to clod apples out of that forbidden tree.

I tried to get you some of those apples but I cannot learn to throw straight.

They are forbidden and you will come to harm.

I brought you some apples to eat.

There were but meager pickings there, and I was obliged to eat them, even though it was against my principles. I find that principles have no real force except when one is well fed. (To Eve) Why are you wearing those ridiculous things?

You’ll soon know.

(Suddenly gathers clothes up around him) These clothes are uncomfortable, but stylish, and that is the main point about clothes.

We are now ordered to work for our living hereafter. We will work together.

I find that she is a good deal of a companion. I see I should be lonesome and depressed without her, now that I have lost my property.



(Older) When I look back, the Garden is a dream to me. It was surpassingly beautiful, and now it is lost, and I shall not see it anymore.

The Garden is lost, but I have found him, and am content. He loves me as well as he can; I love him with all the strength of my passionate nature, as is appropriate to my gender.

Then why is it that I love him? Merely because he is mine. There is no other reason, I suppose. This kind of love is not a product of reasoning and statistics…it just comes, and cannot explain itself. And doesn’t need to.

(Older) After all these years, I see that I was mistaken about Eve in the beginning; it is better to live outside the Garden with her than inside it without her. At first I thought she talked too much; but now I should be sorry to have that voice fall silent and pass out of my life. Blessed be the apple that brought us near together and taught me to know the goodness of her heart and the sweetness of her spirit!

(Much older) It is my prayer that we may pass from this life together. But if one of us must go first, it is my prayer that it shall be I.  I am not so necessary to him as he is to me…life without him would not be life; how could I endure it?

(Much older) Now that she is gone, I know one thing; wheresoever she was, there was Eden.


Mark Twain