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All Choral Works by Topic

All choral works, except for those in Terra Nostra, are published by Inkjar Publishing Company.
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Heaven & Earth
  • A Blade of Grass • 2’30” • treble choir or soprano soloist, SATB, pno
    POET
    Walt Whitman

    COMMISSIONER

    San Francisco Choral Society in collaboration with the Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir

    THIS IS A MOVEMENT FROM:
    Terra Nostra

    ORDERING SCORES
    The piece will be available in 2018 from Theodore Presser Company.
    TEXT
    A blade of grass is the journeywork of the stars.
    Long and long has the grass been growing,
    Long and long has the rain been falling,
    Long has the globe been rolling round.

    PERUSAL SCORE
    Orchestrated version: https://issuu.com/theodorepresser/docs/garrop_terra_nostra_issuu/74
    Piano version coming in Fall 2018
  • Celestial Canticles (3 mvmts) • 10’30”• SATB (div.) a cappella
    POETS
    W.B. Yeats, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, William Wordsworth

    COMMISSIONER
    Boston Choral Ensemble

    ORDERING SCORES

    Inkjar Publishing Company
    Click here to email Inkjar for purchasing options

    PERUSAL SCORE
    Click here

    PROGRAM NOTES
    Celestial Canticles celebrates the wondrous universe above us through the eyes of three poets. In Cloths of Heaven, W.B. Yeats tells his love that he wished he possessed the richness of the heavens to put under her feet. In The Galaxy, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow contemplates the Milky Way. He accomplishes this by alluding to the Milky Way in a set of descriptive terms: torrent, river, sands, ravine, streams, channels, pathway, and chasms. Longfellow also makes two additional references. The first is El Camino de Santiago (or “The Way of St. James”), a popular Christian pilgrimage point in Spain, where the body of the Apostle St. James is said to be buried: pilgrims used the Milky Way to guide their path. The second is Phaeton in Greek mythology: he begs his father Helios (the sun god) to let him drive the sun-chariot across the sky, but when given the reins, he loses control of the horses and scorches the sky. The choral set concludes with William Wordsworth’s The Universal Spectacle Throughout in which Wordsworth admires the beauty and depth of the heavens. Celestial Canticles was commissioned by the Boston Choral Ensemble.
    -S.G.

    TEXTS
    I. Cloths Of Heaven
    W.B. Yeats 

    Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
    Enwrought with golden and silver light,
    The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
    Of night and light and the half-light,
    I would spread the cloths under your feet:
    But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
    I have spread my dreams under your feet;
    Tread softly because you tread on my dreams. 

    II. The Galaxy
    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    Torrent of light and river of the air,
    Along whose bed the glimmering stars are seen
    Like gold and silver sands in some ravine
    Where mountain streams have left their channels bare!
    The Spaniard sees in thee the pathway, where
    His patron saint descended in the sheen
    Of his celestial armor on serene
    And quiet nights, when all the heavens were fair.
    Not this I see, nor yet the ancient fable
    Of Phaeton's wild course, that scorched the skies
    Where'er the hoofs of his hot coursers trod;
    But the white drift of worlds o'er chasms of sable,
    The star dust, that is whirled aloft and flies
    From the invisible chariot-wheels of God.

    III. The Universal Spectacle Throughout
    William Wordsworth

    The universal spectacle throughout
    Was shaped for admiration and delight,
    Grand in itself alone, but in that breach
    Through which the homeless voice of waters rose,
    That dark deep thoroughfare, had Nature lodged
    The soul, the imagination of the whole.
  • Cloths of Heaven • 2’45” • SATB (div.)
    POET
    W. B. Yeats

    COMMISSIONER
    Boston Choral Ensemble

    THIS IS A MOVEMENT FROM:
    Celestial Canticles

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
    Click here to email Inkjar for purchasing options

    PERUSAL SCORE
    Click here
    TEXT
    Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
    Enwrought with golden and silver light,
    The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
    Of night and light and the half-light,
    I would spread the cloths under your feet:
    But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
    I have spread my dreams under your feet;
    Tread softly because you tread on my dreams. 
  • Dawn • 1’40” • SATB a cappella

    AUDIO
    Volti; Robert Geary, conductor

    POET
    Paul Laurence Dunbar

    COMMISSIONER
    Volti

    THIS IS A MOVEMENT FROM:
    Songs of Lowly Life

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
    Click here to email Inkjar for purchasing options

    PERUSAL SCORE
    Click here

    TEXT
    An angel, robed in spotless white,
    Bent down and kissed the sleeping Night.
    Night woke to blush; the sprite was gone.
    Men saw the blush and called it Dawn.
  • God’s World • 3’45” • SATB (div.), pno Enter description here.
    POET
    Edna St. Vincent Millay

    COMMISSIONER
    San Francisco Choral Society in collaboration with the Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir

    THIS IS A MOVEMENT FROM:

    Terra Nostra

    ORDERING SCORES
    The piece will be available in 2018 from Theodore Presser Company.
    TEXT
    O world, I cannot hold thee close enough!
    Thy winds, thy wide grey skies!
    Thy mists, that roll and rise!
    Thy woods, this autumn day, that ache and sag
    And all but cry with colour!   That gaunt crag
    To crush!   To lift the lean of that black bluff!
    World, World, I cannot get thee close enough!

    Long have I known a glory in it all,
    But never knew I this;   
    Here such a passion is
    As stretcheth me apart,—Lord, I do fear
    Thou’st made the world too beautiful this year;
    My soul is all but out of me,—let fall
    No burning leaf; prithee, let no bird call.

    PERUSAL SCORE
    Orchestrated version: https://issuu.com/theodorepresser/docs/garrop_terra_nostra_issuu/42
    Piano version coming in Fall 2018
  • On Thine Own Child • 3’ • SSAA choir (treble or children’s), pno Enter description here.
    POET
    Percy Bysshe Shelley

    COMMISSIONER
    San Francisco Choral Society in collaboration with the Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir

    THIS IS A MOVEMENT FROM:

    Terra Nostra

    ORDERING SCORES
    The piece will be available in 2018 from Theodore Presser Company.
    TEXT
    Sacred Goddess, Mother Earth,
    Thou from whose immortal bosom
    Gods and men and beasts have birth,
    Leaf and blade, and bud and blossom,
    Breathe thine influence most divine
    On thine own child.

    If with mists of evening dew
    Thou dost nourish these young flowers
    Till they grow in scent and hue
    Fairest children of the Hours,
    Breathe thine influence most divine
    On thine own child.

    PERUSAL SCORE
    Orchestrated version: https://issuu.com/theodorepresser/docs/garrop_terra_nostra_issuu/42
    Piano version coming in Fall 2018
  • Still will I harvest beauty where it grows • 2’35” • SATB (div.) a cappella Enter description here.

    AUDIO
    Volti; Robert Geary, conductor
    Turn the Page • Innova 759 • Innova Records

    POET
    Edna St. Vincent Millay

    COMMISSIONER
    Volti

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
    Click here to email Inkjar for purchasing options

    PERUSAL SCORE
    Click here

    TEXT
    Still will I harvest beauty where it grows:
    In coloured fungus and the spotted fog
    Surprised on foods forgotten; in ditch and bog
    Filmed brilliant with irregular rainbows
    Of rust and oil, where half a city throws
    Its empty tins; and in some spongy log
    Whence headlong leaps the oozy emerald frog.
    And a black pupil in the green scum shows.
    Her the inhabiter of divers places
    Surmising at all doors, I push them all.
    Oh, you that fearful of a creaking hinge
    Turn back forevermore with craven faces,
    I tell you Beauty bears an ultrafringe
    Unguessed of you upon her gossamer shawl!
  • The Galaxy • 3’10” • SATB (div.) a cappella Enter description here.
    POET
    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    COMMISSIONER
    Boston Choral Ensemble

    THIS IS A MOVEMENT FROM:
    Celestial Canticles

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
    Click here to email Inkjar for purchasing options

    PERUSAL SCORE
    Click here
    TEXT
    Torrent of light and river of the air,
    Along whose bed the glimmering stars are seen
    Like gold and silver sands in some ravine
    Where mountain streams have left their channels bare!
    The Spaniard sees in thee the pathway, where
    His patron saint descended in the sheen
    Of his celestial armor on serene
    And quiet nights, when all the heavens were fair.
    Not this I see, nor yet the ancient fable
    Of Phaeton's wild course, that scorched the skies
    Where'er the hoofs of his hot coursers trod;
    But the white drift of worlds o'er chasms of sable,
    The star dust, that is whirled aloft and flies
    From the invisible chariot-wheels of God.
  • There was a child went forth every day • 2’35” • SSAA choir (treble or children’s), pno Enter description here.
    POET
    Walt Whitman

    COMMISSIONER

    San Francisco Choral Society in collaboration with the Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir

    THIS IS A MOVEMENT FROM:
    Terra Nostra

    ORDERING SCORES
    The piece will be available in 2018 from Theodore Presser Company.
    TEXT
    There was a child went forth every day;
    And the first object he look’d upon, that object he became;
    The early lilacs, and grass, and white and red morning-glories,
    and white and red clover, and the song of the phoebe-bird,
    And the Third-month lambs, and the sow’s pink-faint litter,
    and the mare’s foal, and the cow’s calf,
    - all became part of him.

    There was a child went forth every day;
    And the first object he look’d upon, that object he became;
    Men and women crowding fast in the streets,
    The streets themselves, and the facades of houses, and goods in the windows,
    Vehicles, teams, the heavy-plank’d wharves,
    The hurrying tumbling waves, quick-broken crests,
    The strata of clouds, the horizon’s edge,
    These became part of that child who went forth every day,
    and who now goes, and will always go forth every day.

    PERUSAL SCORE
    Orchestrated version: https://issuu.com/theodorepresser/docs/garrop_terra_nostra_issuu/214
    Piano version coming in Fall 2018
  • The Universal Spectacle Throughout • 4’ • SATB (div.) a cappella Enter description here.
    POET
    William Wordsworth

    COMMISSIONER
    Boston Choral Ensemble

    THIS IS A MOVEMENT FROM:
    Celestial Canticles

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
    Click here to email Inkjar for purchasing options

    PERUSAL SCORE
    Click here
    TEXT
    The universal spectacle throughout
    Was shaped for admiration and delight,
    Grand in itself alone, but in that breach
    Through which the homeless voice of waters rose,
    That dark deep thoroughfare, had Nature lodged
    The soul, the imagination of the whole.
  • The Want of Peace • 5’30” • SATB (div.), pno Enter description here.
    POET
    Wendell Berry

    COMMISSIONER

    San Francisco Choral Society in collaboration with the Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir

    THIS IS A MOVEMENT FROM:
    Terra Nostra

    ORDERING SCORES
    The piece will be available in 2018 from Theodore Presser Company.
    TEXT
    All goes back to the earth,
    and so I do not desire
    pride of excess or power,
    but the contentments made
    by men who have had little:
    the fisherman's silence
    receiving the river's grace,
    the gardener's musing on rows.

    I lack the peace of simple things.
    I am never wholly in place.
    I find no peace or grace.
    We sell the world to buy fire,
    our way lighted by burning men,
    and that has bent my mind
    and made me think of darkness
    and wish for the dumb life of roots.

    "The Want of Peace" by Wendell Berry. Text as published in New Collected Poems (Counterpoint Press, 2012).

    PERUSAL SCORE
    Orchestrated version: https://issuu.com/theodorepresser/docs/garrop_terra_nostra_issuu/206
    Piano version coming in Fall 2018
  • Wild Wind • 4’13” • SS treble choir, SSAB children’s choir, pno, percussion, audience participation Enter description here.

    AUDIO
    Performed by Amina-Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus, Emily Ellsworth, Artistic Director

    POET
    Anne Brontë

    COMMISSIONER
    Amina-Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus, Emily Ellsworth, Artistic Director

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
    Click here to email Inkjar for purchasing options

    PERUSAL SCORE
    Coming soon…

    TEXT
    And carried aloft on the wings of the breeze;
    For above and around me the wild wind is roaring,
    Arousing to rapture the earth and the seas.

    The long withered grass in the sunshine is glancing,
    The bare trees are tossing their branches on high;
    The dead leaves, beneath them, are merrily dancing,
    The white clouds are scudding across the blue sky.

    I wish I could see how the ocean is lashing
    The foam of its billows to whirlwinds of spray;
    I wish I could see how its proud waves are dashing,
    And hear the wild roar of their thunder today!
 
Humanity
  • High Flight • 3’15” • SATB (div.), pno
    POET
    John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

    COMMISSIONER

    San Francisco Choral Society in collaboration with the Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir

    THIS IS A MOVEMENT FROM:
    Terra Nostra

    ORDERING SCORES
    The piece will be available in 2018 from Theodore Presser Company.
    TEXT
    Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
    And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
    Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
    Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
    You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
    High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
    I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
    My eager craft through footless halls of air. . . .
    Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
    I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
    Where never lark, or ever eagle flew —
    And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
    The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
    Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

    PERUSAL SCORE
    Orchestrated version: https://issuu.com/theodorepresser/docs/garrop_terra_nostra_issuu/122
    Piano version coming in Fall 2018
  • I will put Chaos into fourteen lines • 3’15” • SATB (div.) a cappella

    AUDIO
    Volti; Robert Geary, conductor

    POET
    Edna St. Vincent Millay

    COMMISSIONER

    Commissioned by the Dale Warland Singers

    THIS IS A MOVEMENT FROM:
    Sonnets of Love and Chaos

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
    Click here to email Inkjar for purchasing options

    PERUSAL SCORE
    Coming soon…

    TEXT
    I will put Chaos into fourteen lines
    And keep him there; and let him thence escape
    If he be lucky; let him twist, and ape
    Flood, fire, and demon --- his adroit designs
    Will strain to nothing in the strict confines
    Of this sweet order, where, in pious rape,
    I hold his essence and amorphous shape,
    Till he with Order mingles and combines.
    Past are the hours, the years of our duress,
    His arrogance, our awful servitude:
    I have him. He is nothing more nor less
    Than something simple not yet understood;
    I shall not even force him to confess;
    Or answer. I will only make him good.
  • Joy • 1’45” • SATB (div.) young adult or adult choir a cappella

    AUDIO
    Clerestory and the Young Women's Chorus of San Francisco

    POET
    Sara Teasdale

    COMMISSIONER
    Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir

    THIS IS A MOVEMENT FROM:
    Songs of Joy and Refuge

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
    Click here to email Inkjar for purchasing options

    PERUSAL SCORE
    Click here

    TEXT

    I am wild, I will sing to the trees,
    I will sing to the stars in the sky,
    I love, I am loved, he is mine,
    Now at last I can die!
     
    I am sandaled with wind and with flame,
    I have heart-fire and singing to give,
    I can tread on the grass or the stars,
    Now at last I can live!

  • Life • 1’05” • SATB a cappella

    AUDIO
    Volti; Robert Geary, conductor

    POET
    Paul Laurence Dunbar

    COMMISSIONER
    Volti

    THIS IS A MOVEMENT FROM:
    Songs of Lowly Life

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
    Click here to email Inkjar for purchasing options

    PERUSAL SCORE
    Click here

    TEXT
    A crust of bread and a corner to sleep in,
    A minute to smile and an hour to weep in,
    A pint of joy to a peck of trouble,
    And never a laugh but the moans come double;
    And that is life!

    A crust and a corner that love makes precious,
    With the smile to warm and the tears to re-fresh us;
    And joy seems sweeter when cares come after,
    And a moan is the finest of foils for laughter;
    And that is life!
  • Lullaby • 1’30” • SATB a cappella with baritone soloist Enter description here.

    AUDIO
    Volti; Robert Geary, conductor

    POET
    Paul Laurence Dunbar

    COMMISSIONER
    Volti

    THIS IS A MOVEMENT FROM:
    Songs of Lowly Life

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
    Click here to email Inkjar for purchasing options

    PERUSAL SCORE
    Click here

    TEXT
    Sing me, sweet, a soothing psalm,
    Holy, tender, low, and calm,
    Full of drowsy words and dreamy,
    Sleep half seen where the sides are seamy;
    Lay my head upon your breast;
    Sing me to rest.
  • Mother of Exiles • 4’50” • SSA treble choir, SSATB mixed choir, pno Enter description here.

    AUDIO
    Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir; Robert Geary, conductor

    The Piedmont Choirs have the exclusive rights to premiere, perform, and record Mother of Exiles until July 14, 2018, after which anyone else can purchase and perform it.

    POET
    Emma Lazarus

    COMMISSIONER

    Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir

    PERUSAL SCORE
    Click here

    TEXT
    Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
    With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
    Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
    A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
    Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
    MOTHER OF EXILES. From her beacon-hand
    Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
    The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

    "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
    With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
  • Not they who soar • 3’40” • SATB (div.) a cappella Enter description here.

    AUDIO
    Volti; Robert Geary, conductor

    POET
    Paul Laurence Dunbar

    COMMISSIONER
    Volti

    THIS IS A MOVEMENT FROM:
    Songs of Lowly Life

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
    Click here to email Inkjar for purchasing options

    PERUSAL SCORE
    Click here

    TEXT
    Not they who soar, but they who plod
    Their rugged way, unhelped, to God
    Are heroes; they who higher fare,
    And, flying, fan the upper air,
    Miss all the toil that hugs the sod.
    'Tis they whose backs have felt the rod,
    Whose feet have pressed the path unshod,
    May smile upon defeated care,
    Not they who soar.

    High up there are no thorns to prod,
    Nor boulders lurking 'neath the clod
    To turn the keenness of the share,
    For flight is ever free and rare;
    But heroes they the soil who've trod,
    Not they who soar!
  • Old • 5’ • SATB (div.) a cappella Enter description here.

    AUDIO
    Volti; Robert Geary, conductor

    POET
    Paul Laurence Dunbar

    COMMISSIONER
    Volti

    THIS IS A MOVEMENT FROM:
    Songs of Lowly Life

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
    Click here to email Inkjar for purchasing options

    PERUSAL SCORE
    Click here

    TEXT
    I have seen peoples come and go
    Alike the Ocean'd ebb and flow;
    I have seen kingdoms rise and fall
    Like springtime shadows on a wall.
    I have seen houses rendered great
    That grew from life's debased estate,
    And all, all, all is change I see,
    So, dearest God, take me, take me.
  • On Hearing a Symphony of Beethoven • 4’30” • SATB (div.) with soprano solo, a cappella Enter description here.

    AUDIO
    Volti; Robert Geary, conductor

    POET
    Edna St. Vincent Millay

    COMMISSIONER
    Volti

    THIS IS A MOVEMENT FROM:
    Sonnets of Beauty and Music

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
    Click here to email Inkjar for purchasing options

    PERUSAL SCORE
    Click here

    TEXT
    Sweet sounds, oh, beautiful music, do not cease!
    Reject me not into the world again.
    With you alone is excellence and peace,
    Mankind made plausible, his purpose plain.
    Enchanted in your air benign and shrewd,
    With limbs a-sprawl and empty faces pale,
    The spiteful and the stingy and the rude
    Sleep like the scullions in the fairy-tale.
    This moment is the best the world can give:
    The tranquil blossom on the tortured stem.
    Reject me not, sweet sounds; oh, let me live,
    Till Doom espy my towers and scatter them,
    A city spell-bound under the aging sun.
    Music my rampart, and my only one.
  • Refuge • 2’45” • SATB (div.) adult or young adult choir a cappella Enter description here.

    AUDIO
    Clerestory and the Young Women's Chorus of San Francisco

    POET
    Sara Teasdale

    COMMISSIONER
    Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir

    THIS IS A MOVEMENT FROM:
    Songs of Joy and Refuge

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
    Click here to email Inkjar for purchasing options

    PERUSAL SCORE
    Click here

    TEXT
    From my spirit's gray defeat, 
    From my pulse's flagging beat, 
    From my hopes that turned to sand 
    Sifting through my close-clenched hand, 
    From my own fault's slavery, 
    If I can sing, I still am free. 

    For with my singing I can make 
    A refuge for my spirit's sake, 
    A house of shining words, to be 
    My fragile immortality. 
  • Songs of Joy and Refuge (2 mvmts) 4’ • SSAATTBB Enter description here.
    Movement 1: Joy
    Movement 2: Refuge

    AUDIO
    Clerestory and the Young Women's Chorus of San Francisco

    POET
    Sara Teasdale

    COMMISSIONER
    Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
    Click here to email Inkjar for purchasing options

    PERUSAL SCORE
    Click here

    PROGRAM NOTES
    Songs of Joy and Refuge was commissioned to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir (Robert Geary, Artistic Director). When Bob approached me with this project, I immediately thought of the exhilaration of singing and sought to find texts that captured this feeling. In my search, I found two lovely poems by the 20th Century American poet Sara Teasdale (1884-1933), each of which illustrates a different aspect of singing. In Joy, Teasdale expresses happiness through the action of singing, whereas in Refuge, Teasdale relies on singing to lift her spirits. Together, these two poems perfectly express to me why we sing.
    -S.G.

    TEXTS
    I. Joy
    I am wild, I will sing to the trees,
    I will sing to the stars in the sky,
    I love, I am loved, he is mine,
    Now at last I can die!
     
    I am sandaled with wind and with flame,
    I have heart-fire and singing to give,
    I can tread on the grass or the stars,
    Now at last I can live!

    II. Refuge
    From my spirit's gray defeat, 
    From my pulse's flagging beat, 
    From my hopes that turned to sand 
    Sifting through my close-clenched hand, 
    From my own fault's slavery, 
    If I can sing, I still am free. 

    For with my singing I can make 
    A refuge for my spirit's sake, 
    A house of shining words, to be 
    My fragile immortality. 
  • Songs of Lowly Life (4 mvmts) 14’ • SATB (div.) a cappella Enter description here.
    Movement 1: Dawn
    Movement 3: Not They Who Soar
    Movement 2: Life

    Movement 4: Lullaby
    Movement 5: Old

    AUDIO
    Volti; Robert Geary, conductor

    POET
    Paul Laurence Dunbar

    COMMISSIONER
    Volti

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
    Click here to email Inkjar for purchasing options

    PERUSAL SCORE
    Click here

    PROGRAM NOTES
    When Volti commissioned me for a new choral piece, I seized the opportunity to feature the poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar. Dunbar was the first African-American poet and novelist to gain national and international recognition. Born in Dayton, Ohio in 1872, his mother was a former slave and his father had escaped from slavery prior to serving in the 55th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment and the 5th Massachusetts Colored Cavalry Regiment during the Civil War. Dunbar began writing poetry as a child and published his first book of poems, called Oak and Ivy, when he was twenty. This was followed by eleven additional books of poetry, four books of short stories, five novels, and a play. The subject matter of Dunbar’s poems encompasses a wide array of topics, from his observations of nature, love, and life to his renditions (many of which are written in dialect) of African American life. Dunbar’s life was ultimately cut short when he contracted tuberculosis and died at the age of 33 in 1906. The title for my song cycle is taken from Dunbar’s 1896 book Lyrics of Lowly Life, from which several of these texts were drawn. Five poems are set in this piece: Dawn, Life, Not They Who Soar, Lullaby, and Old.
    -S.G.

    TEXTS
    I. Dawn
    An angel, robed in spotless white,
    Bent down and kissed the sleeping Night.
    Night woke to blush; the sprite was gone.
    Men saw the blush and called it Dawn.

    II. Life
    A crust of bread and a corner to sleep in,
    A minute to smile and an hour to weep in,
    A pint of joy to a peck of trouble,
    And never a laugh but the moans come double;
    And that is life!

    A crust and a corner that love makes precious,
    With the smile to warm and the tears to re-fresh us;
    And joy seems sweeter when cares come after,
    And a moan is the finest of foils for laughter;
    And that is life!

    III. Not They Who Soar
    Not they who soar, but they who plod
    Their rugged way, unhelped, to God
    Are heroes; they who higher fare,
    And, flying, fan the upper air,
    Miss all the toil that hugs the sod.
    'Tis they whose backs have felt the rod,
    Whose feet have pressed the path unshod,
    May smile upon defeated care,
    Not they who soar.

    High up there are no thorns to prod,
    Nor boulders lurking 'neath the clod
    To turn the keenness of the share,
    For flight is ever free and rare;
    But heroes they the soil who've trod,
    Not they who soar!

    IV. Lullaby
    Sing me, sweet, a soothing psalm,
    Holy, tender, low, and calm,
    Full of drowsy words and dreamy,
    Sleep half seen where the sides are seamy;
    Lay my head upon your breast;
    Sing me to rest.

    V. Old I have seen peoples come and go
    Alike the Ocean'd ebb and flow;
    I have seen kingdoms rise and fall
    Like springtime shadows on a wall.
    I have seen houses rendered great
    That grew from life's debased estate,
    And all, all, all is change I see,
    So, dearest God, take me, take me.
  • Thou Famished Grave • 3’ • SSAA, pno Enter description here.
    POET
    Edna St. Vincent Millay

    COMMISSIONER
    Peninsula Women's Chorus

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
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    PERUSAL SCORE
    Coming soon…
    TEXT
    Thou famished grave, I will not fill thee yet,
    Roar though thou dost, I am too happy here;
    Gnaw thine own sides, fast on; I have no fear
    Of thy dark project, but my heart is set
    On living - I have heroes to beget
    Before I die; I will not come anear
    Thy dismal jaws for many a splendid year;
    Till I be old, I aim not to be eat.
    I cannot starve thee out: I am thy prey
    And thou shalt have me; but I dare defend
    That I can stave thee off; and I dare say,
    What with the life I lead, the force I spend,
    I'll be but bones and jewels on that day,
    And leave thee hungry even in the end.
 
Love
  • Desire • 2’15” • SATB (div.) a cappella

    AUDIO
    Wicker Park Choral Singers; Mark Tomasino, conductor

    POET
    Samuel Taylor Coleridge

    COMMISSIONER
    Cantori

    THIS IS A MOVEMENT FROM:
    Love’s Philosophy

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
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    PERUSAL SCORE
    Click here

    TEXT
    Where true Love burns Desire is Love’s pure flame;
    It is the reflex of our earthly frame,
    That takes its meaning from the nobler part,
    And but translates the language of the heart.
  • Give Me Hunger • 6’45” • men’s chorus or SATB (div.) a cappella

    VIDEO/AUDIO
    (men’s chorus version)
    Chanticleer
    She Said/He Said • Chanticleer Records CLIC010 • Purchase recording

    POET
    Carl Sandburg

    COMMISSIONER
    Chanticleer

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
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    PERUSAL SCORE
    Click here (mixed version)

    TEXT
    Give me hunger, 
    O you gods that sit and give 
    The world its orders. 
    Give me hunger, pain and want, 
    Shut me out with shame and failure 
    From your doors of gold and fame, 
    Give me your shabbiest, weariest hunger! 

    But leave me a little love, 
    A voice to speak to me in the day end, 
    A hand to touch me in the dark room 
    Breaking the long loneliness. 
    In the dusk of day-shapes 
    Blurring the sunset, 
    One little wandering, western star 
    Thrust out from the changing shores of shadow. 
    Let me go to the window, 
    Watch there the day-shapes of dusk 
    And wait and know the coming of a little love.
  • Give me women, wine, and snuff • 1’20” • SATB (div.) a cappella

    AUDIO
    Wicker Park Choral Singers; Mark Tomasino, conductor

    POET
    John Keats

    COMMISSIONER
    Cantori

    THIS IS A MOVEMENT FROM:
    Love’s Philosophy

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
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    PERUSAL SCORE
    Click here

    TEXT
    Give me women, wine, and snuff
    Untill I cry out “hold, enough!”
    You may do so sans objection
    Till the day of resurrection:
    For, bless my beard, they aye shall be
    My beloved Trinity.
  • Hearing your words • 2’35” • SATB (div.) a cappella

    AUDIO
    Ensemble of the North; Patrick McDonough, conductor

    POET
    Edna St. Vincent Millay

    COMMISSIONER
    Ensemble of the North

    THIS IS A MOVEMENT FROM:
    Sonnets of the Fatal Interview

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
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    PERUSAL SCORE
    Please note there are rewrites made to the score that aren’t reflected in the audio.
    Coming soon…

    TEXT
    Hearing your words, and not a word among them
    Tuned to my liking, on a salty day
    When inland woods were pushed by winds that flung them
    Hissing to leeward like a ton of spray,
    I thought how off Matinicus the tide
    Came pounding in, came running though the Gut,
    While from the Rock the warning whistle cried,
    And children whimpered and the doors blew shut;
    There in the autumn when the men go forth,
    With slapping skirts the island women stand
    In gardens stripped and scattered, peering north,
    With dahlia tubers dripping from the hand:
    The wind of their endurance, driving south,
    Flattened your words against your speaking mouth.
  • I shall forget you presently, my dear • 1’40” • SATB (div.) a cappella Enter description here.

    AUDIO
    Grant Park Chorus; Christopher Bell, conductor
    Songs of Smaller Creatures, Cedille Records CDR 90000 131 • Purchase recording

    POET
    Edna St. Vincent Millay

    COMMISSIONER
    Volti

    THIS IS A MOVEMENT FROM:
    Sonnets of Desire, Longing, and Whimsy

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
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    PERUSAL SCORE
    Click here

    TEXT
    I shall forget you presently, my dear,
    So make the most of this, your little day,
    Your little month, your little half a year
    Ere I forget, or die, or move away,
    And we are done forever; by and by
    I shall forget you, as I said, but now,
    If you entreat me with your loveliest lie
    I will protest you with my favorite vow.
    I would indeed that love were longer-lived,
    And vows were not so brittle as they are,
    But so it is, and nature has contrived
    To struggle on without a break thus far,—
    Whether or not we find what we are seeking
    Is idle, biologically speaking.
  • Love’s Philosophy (4 mvmts) • 8’40” • SATB (div.) a cappella Enter description here.
    Movement 1:
    Love's Philosophy
    Movement 3:
    Give me women, wine, and snuff
    Movement 2:
    Desire
    Movement 4:
    So, we'll go no more a roving

    AUDIO
    Wicker Park Choral Singers; Mark Tomasino, conductor

    POETS
    Percy Bysshe Shelley, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Keats, Lord George Gordon Byron

    COMMISSIONER
    Cantori

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
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    PERUSAL SCORE
    Click here

    PROGRAM NOTES
    Love’s Philosophy explores concepts of love through the eyes of four English poets, all of whom contributed to the ideals of the Romantic movement which emphasized revolutionary thought and imagination over traditional practices and reason. In these four poems, Percy Bysshe Shelley teasingly addresses flirtation, Samuel Taylor Coleridge writes of desire, John Keats heartily endorses lust and merry-making, and Lord George Gordon Byron lingers on the loss of love. This piece was commissioned by Robert Cowles and the Hobart and William Smith Colleges vocal ensemble Cantori.
    -S.G.

    TEXTS

    I. Love’s Philosophy
    Percy Bysshe Shelley
    The fountains mingle with the river
    And the rivers with the ocean,
    The winds of Heaven mix for ever
    With a sweet emotion;
    Nothing in the world is single,
    All things by a law divine
    In one spirit meet and mingle -
    Why not I with thine?

    See the mountains kiss high Heaven
    And the waves clasp one another;
    No sister-flower would be forgiven
    If it disdained its brother;
    And the sunlight clasps the earth,
    And the moonbeams kiss the sea -
    What are all these kissings worth
    If thou kiss not me?

    II. Desire
    Samuel Taylor Coleridge
    Where true Love burns Desire is Love’s pure flame;
    It is the reflex of our earthly frame,
    That takes its meaning from the nobler part,
    And but translates the language of the heart.

    III. Give me women, wine, and snuff
    John Keats
    Give me women, wine, and snuff
    Untill I cry out “hold, enough!”
    You may do so sans objection
    Till the day of resurrection:
    For, bless my beard, they aye shall be
    My beloved Trinity.

    IV. So, we'll go no more a roving
    Lord George Gordon Byron
    So, we’ll go no more a roving
    So late into the night,
    Though the heart be still as loving,
    And the moon be still as bright.

    For the sword outwears its sheath,
    And the soul wears out the breast,
    And the heart must pause to breathe,
    And love itself have rest.

    Though the night was made for loving,
    And the day returns too soon,
    Yet we’ll go no more a roving
    By the light of the moon.
  • Love’s Philosophy • 1’40” • SATB (div.) a cappella Enter description here.

    AUDIO
    Wicker Park Choral Singers; Mark Tomasino, conductor

    POET
    Percy Bysshe Shelley

    COMMISSIONER
    Cantori

    THIS IS A MOVEMENT FROM:
    Love’s Philosophy

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
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    PERUSAL SCORE
    Click here

    TEXT
    The fountains mingle with the river
    And the rivers with the ocean,
    The winds of Heaven mix for ever
    With a sweet emotion;
    Nothing in the world is single,
    All things by a law divine
    In one spirit meet and mingle -
    Why not I with thine?

    See the mountains kiss high Heaven
    And the waves clasp one another;
    No sister-flower would be forgiven
    If it disdained its brother;
    And the sunlight clasps the earth,
    And the moonbeams kiss the sea -
    What are all these kissings worth
    If thou kiss not me?
  • Now by this moon, before this moon shall wane • 2’45” • SATB (div.) a cappella Enter description here.

    AUDIO
    Grant Park Chorus; Christopher Bell, conductor
    Songs of Smaller Creatures, Cedille Records CDR 90000 131 • Purchase recording

    POET
    Edna St. Vincent Millay

    COMMISSIONER
    Volti

    THIS IS A MOVEMENT FROM:
    Sonnets of Desire, Longing, and Whimsy

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
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    PERUSAL SCORE
    Click here

    TEXT
    Now by this moon, before this moon shall wane 
    I shall be dead or I shall be with you! 
    No moral concept can outweigh the pain 
    Past rack and wheel this absence puts me through; 
    Faith, honour, pride, endurance, what the tongues 
    Of tedious men will say, or what the law— 
    For which of these do I fill up my lungs 
    With brine and fire at every breath I draw? 
    Time, and to spare, for patience by and by, 
    Time to be cold and time to sleep alone; 
    Let me no more until the hour I die 
    Defraud my innocent senses of their own. 
    Before this moon shall darken, say of me: 
    She's in her grave, or where she wants to be.
  • Oh, think not I am faithful to a vow! • 2’ • SATB (div.) a cappella Enter description here.

    AUDIO
    Murray State University Choir; Bradley Almquist, conductor

    POET
    Edna St. Vincent Millay

    COMMISSIONER
    Volti

    THIS IS A MOVEMENT FROM:
    Sonnets of Desire, Longing, and Whimsy

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
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    PERUSAL SCORE
    Coming soon….

    TEXT
    Oh, think not I am faithful to a vow! 
    Faithless am I save to love's self alone. 
    Were you not lovely I would leave you now: 
    After the feet of beauty fly my own. 
    Were you not still my hunger's rarest food, 
    And water ever to my wildest thirst, 
    I would desert you — think not but I would! — 
    And seek another as I sought you first. 
    But you are mobile as the veering air, 
    And all your charms more changeful than the tide, 
    Wherefore to be inconstant is no care: 
    I have but to continue at your side. 
    So wanton, light and false, my love, are you, 
    I am most faithless when I most am true. 
  • Since of no creature living • 4’45” • SATB (div.) a cappella Enter description here.

    AUDIO
    Ensemble of the North; Patrick McDonough, conductor

    POET
    Edna St. Vincent Millay

    COMMISSIONER
    Ensemble of the North

    THIS IS A MOVEMENT FROM:
    Sonnets of the Fatal Interview

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    Inkjar Publishing Company
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    TEXT
    Since of no creature living the last breath
    Is twice required, or twice the ultimate pain,
    Seeing how to quit your arms is very death,
    'Tis likely that I shall not die again;
    And likely 'tis that Time whose gross decree
    Sends now the dawn to clamour at our door,
    Thus having done his evil worst to me,
    Will thrust me by, will harry me no more.
    When you are corn and roses and at rest
    I shall endure, a dense and sanguine ghost,
    To haunt the scene where I was happiest,
    To bend above the thing I loved the most;
    And rise, and wring my hands, and steal away
    As I do now, before the advancing day.
  • The thought of you comes to destroy me • 3’50” • SATB (div.) a cappella Enter description here.

    AUDIO
    Murray State University Choir; Bradley Almquist, conductor

    POET
    Edna St. Vincent Millay

    COMMISSIONER
    Volti

    THIS IS A MOVEMENT FROM:
    Sonnets of Desire, Longing, and Whimsy

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
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    PERUSAL SCORE
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    TEXT
    Once more into my arid days like dew,
    Like wind from an oasis, or the sound
    Of cold sweet water bubbling underground,
    A treacherous messenger, the thought of you
    Comes to destroy me; once more I renew
    Firm faith in your abundance, whom I found
    Long since to be but just one other mound
    Of sand, whereon no green thing ever grew.
    And once again, and wiser in no wise,
    I chase your colored phantom on the air,
    And sob and curse and fall and weep and rise
    And stumble pitifully on to where,
    Miserable and lost, with stinging eyes,
    Once more I clasp, —and there is nothing there.
  • This beast that rends me • 3’40” • SATB (div.) a cappella Enter description here.

    AUDIO
    Ensemble of the North; Patrick McDonough, conductor

    POET
    Edna St. Vincent Millay

    COMMISSIONER
    Ensemble of the North

    THIS IS A MOVEMENT FROM:
    Sonnets of the Fatal Interview

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
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    PERUSAL SCORE
    Please note there are rewrites made to the score that aren’t reflected in the audio.
    Coming soon…

    TEXT
    This beast that rends me in the sight of all,
    This love, this longing, this oblivious thing,
    That has me under as the last leaves fall,
    Will glut, will sicken, will be gone by spring.
    The wound will heal, the fever will abate,
    The knotted hurt will slacken in the breast;
    I shall forget before the flickers mate
    Your look that is today my east and west.
    Unscathed, however, from a claw so deep
    Though I should love again I shall not go:
    Along my body, waking while I sleep,
    Sharp to the kiss, cold to the hand as snow,
    The scar of this encounter like a sword
    Will lie between me and my troubled lord.
  • When we are old • 3’30” • SATB (div.) a cappella Enter description here.

    AUDIO
    Murray State University Choir; Bradley Almquist, conductor

    POET
    Edna St. Vincent Millay

    COMMISSIONER
    Volti

    THIS IS A MOVEMENT FROM:
    Sonnets of Desire, Longing, and Whimsy

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
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    PERUSAL SCORE
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    TEXT
    When we are old and these rejoicing veins
    Are frosty channels to a muted stream,
    And out of all our burning their remains
    No feeblest spark to fire us, even in dream,
    This be our solace: that it was not said
    When we were young and warm and in our prime,
    Upon our couch we lay as lie the dead,
    Sleeping away the unreturning time.
    O sweet, O heavy-lidded, O my love,
    When morning strikes her spear upon the land,
    And we must rise and arm us and reprove
    The insolent daylight with a steady hand,
    Be not discountenanced if the knowing know
    We rose from rapture but an hour ago. 
 
Loss
  • I know my mind • 3’50” • SATB (div.) a cappella

    AUDIO
    Ensemble of the North; Patrick McDonough, conductor

    POET
    Edna St. Vincent Millay

    COMMISSIONER
    Ensemble of the North

    THIS IS A MOVEMENT FROM:
    Sonnets of the Fatal Interview

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
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    PERUSAL SCORE
    Coming soon…

    TEXT
    I know my mind and I have made my choice;
    Not from your temper does my doom depend;
    Love me or love me not, you have no voice
    In this, which is my portion to the end.
    Your presence and your favours, the full part
    That you could give, you now can take away:
    What lies between your beauty and my heart
    Not even you can trouble or betray.
    Mistake me not — unto my inmost core
    I do desire your kiss upon my mouth;
    They have not craved a cup of water more
    That bleach upon the deserts of the south;
    Here might you bless me; what you cannot do
    Is bow me down, who have been loved by you.
  • Pity Me Not • 3’50” • SSAA, pno

    AUDIO
    Performed by the CCPA Women's Choir; Anne Heider, conductor

    POET
    Edna St. Vincent Millay

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
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    PERUSAL SCORE
    Click here

    TEXT
    Pity me not because the light of day
    At close of day no longer walks the sky;
    Pity me not for beauties passed away
    From field and thicket as the the year goes by;
    Pity me not the waning of the moon,
    Nor that the ebbing tide goes out to sea,
    Nor that a man's desire is hushed so soon,
    And you no longer look with love on me.
    This have I known always: Love is no more
    Than the wide blossom which the wind assails,
    Than the great tide that treads the shifting shore,
    Strewing fresh wreckage gathered in the gales:
    Pity me that the heart is slow to learn
    What the swift mind beholds at every turn. 
  • So, we’ll go no more a roving • 3’ • SATB (div.) a cappella

    AUDIO
    Wicker Park Choral Singers; Mark Tomasino, conductor

    POET
    Lord George Gordon Byron

    COMMISSIONER
    Cantori

    THIS IS A MOVEMENT FROM:
    Love’s Philosophy

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
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    PERUSAL SCORE
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    TEXT
    So, we’ll go no more a roving
    So late into the night,
    Though the heart be still as loving,
    And the moon be still as bright.

    For the sword outwears its sheath,
    And the soul wears out the breast,
    And the heart must pause to breathe,
    And love itself have rest.

    Though the night was made for loving,
    And the day returns too soon,
    Yet we’ll go no more a roving
    By the light of the moon.
  • Time does not bring relief, you all have lied • 3’15” • SATB (div.) a cappella

    AUDIO
    Grant Park Chorus; Christopher Bell, conductor
    Songs of Smaller Creatures, Cedille Records CDR 90000 131 • Purchase recording

    POET
    Edna St. Vincent Millay

    COMMISSIONER
    Volti

    THIS IS A MOVEMENT FROM:
    Sonnets of Desire, Longing, and Whimsy

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
    Click here to email Inkjar for purchasing options

    PERUSAL SCORE
    Click here

    TEXTS
    Time does not bring relief; you all have lied   
    Who told me time would ease me of my pain!   
    I miss him in the weeping of the rain;   
    I want him at the shrinking of the tide;
    The old snows melt from every mountain-side,   
    And last year’s leaves are smoke in every lane;   
    But last year’s bitter loving must remain
    Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide.   
    There are a hundred places where I fear   
    To go,—so with his memory they brim.   
    And entering with relief some quiet place   
    Where never fell his foot or shone his face   
    I say, “There is no memory of him here!”   
    And so stand stricken, so remembering him.
  • What lips my lips have kissed • 4’50” • SATB (div.) a cappella Enter description here.

    AUDIO
    Volti; Robert Geary, conductor

    POET
    Edna St. Vincent Millay

    COMMISSIONER

    Commissioned by the Dale Warland Singers

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
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    PERUSAL SCORE
    Please note there are rewrites made to the score that aren’t reflected in the audio.
    Coming soon…

    TEXT
    What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why, 
    I have forgotten, and what arms have lain 
    Under my head till morning; but the rain 
    Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh 
    Upon the glass and listen for reply, 
    And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain 
    For unremembered lads that not again 
    Will turn to me at midnight with a cry. 

    Thus in the winter stands the lonely tree, 
    Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one, 
    Yet knows its boughs more silent than before: 
    I cannot say what loves have come and gone, 
    I only know that summer sang in me 
    A little while, that in me sings no more.
 
Sonnet Sets of Edna St. Vincent Millay
  • Sonnets of Beauty and Music • 7’ • SATB (div.) a cappella
    Movement 1: Still will I harvest beauty where it grows
    Movement 2: On Hearing a Symphony of Beethoven

    AUDIO
    Volti; Robert Geary, conductor
    Turn the Page • Innova 759 • Innova Records

    POET
    Edna St. Vincent Millay

    COMMISSIONER
    Volti

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
    Click here to email Inkjar for purchasing options

    PERUSAL SCORE
    Click here

    PROGRAM NOTES
    Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950) was an American poet who produced a great body of work in her lifetime. Among her works are several books of poetry, essays, plays, an opera libretto, and over two hundred sonnets. The sonnets cover a vast range of topics including love, loss, beauty, music, death, war, science, legendary figures, and the end of humanity. Beautifully constructed, I find that many of Millay’s sonnets are well suited to be set to music. From 2000-2006, I set sixteen of her sonnets for a cappella choir, arranged into six sonnet sets.

    Sonnets of Beauty and Music focuses on finding beauty in unexpected beauty, as well as the role music played for Millay.
    -S.G.

    TEXTS
    1. Still will I harvest beauty where it grows
    Still will I harvest beauty where it grows:
    In coloured fungus and the spotted fog
    Surprised on foods forgotten; in ditch and bog
    Filmed brilliant with irregular rainbows
    Of rust and oil, where half a city throws
    Its empty tins; and in some spongy log
    Whence headlong leaps the oozy emerald frog.
    And a black pupil in the green scum shows.
    Her the inhabiter of divers places
    Surmising at all doors, I push them all.
    Oh, you that fearful of a creaking hinge
    Turn back forevermore with craven faces,
    I tell you Beauty bears an ultrafringe
    Unguessed of you upon her gossamer shawl!

    2. On Hearing a Symphony of Beethoven
    Sweet sounds, oh, beautiful music, do not cease!
    Reject me not into the world again.
    With you alone is excellence and peace,
    Mankind made plausible, his purpose plain.
    Enchanted in your air benign and shrewd,
    With limbs a-sprawl and empty faces pale,
    The spiteful and the stingy and the rude
    Sleep like the scullions in the fairy-tale.
    This moment is the best the world can give:
    The tranquil blossom on the tortured stem.
    Reject me not, sweet sounds; oh, let me live,
    Till Doom espy my towers and scatter them,
    A city spell-bound under the aging sun.
    Music my rampart, and my only one.
  • Sonnets of Desire, Longing, and Whimsy • 8’40” • SATB (div.) a cappella
    Movement 1: Now by this moon, before this moon shall wane
    Movement 3: I shall forget you presently, my dear
    Movement 2: Time does not bring relief; you all have lied

    AUDIO
    Grant Park Chorus; Christopher Bell, conductor
    Songs of Smaller Creatures, Cedille Records CDR 90000 131 • Purchase recording

    POET
    Edna St. Vincent Millay

    COMMISSIONER
    Volti

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
    Click here to email Inkjar for purchasing options

    PERUSAL SCORE
    Click here

    PROGRAM NOTES
    Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950) was an American poet who produced a great body of work in her lifetime. Among her works are several books of poetry, essays, plays, an opera libretto, and over two hundred sonnets. The sonnets cover a vast range of topics including love, loss, beauty, music, death, war, science, legendary figures, and the end of humanity. Beautifully constructed, I find that many of Millay’s sonnets are well suited to be set to music. From 2000-2006, I set sixteen of her sonnets for a cappella choir, arranged into six sonnet sets.

    Sonnets of Desire, Longing, and Whimsy
    explores three aspects of love: unrequited passion, the ache after a breakup, and flirtation.
    -S.G.

    TEXTS
    1. Now by this moon
    Now by this moon, before this moon shall wane 
    I shall be dead or I shall be with you! 
    No moral concept can outweigh the pain 
    Past rack and wheel this absence puts me through; 
    Faith, honour, pride, endurance, what the tongues 
    Of tedious men will say, or what the law— 
    For which of these do I fill up my lungs 
    With brine and fire at every breath I draw? 
    Time, and to spare, for patience by and by, 
    Time to be cold and time to sleep alone; 
    Let me no more until the hour I die 
    Defraud my innocent senses of their own. 
    Before this moon shall darken, say of me: 
    She's in her grave, or where she wants to be.

    2. Time does not bring relief; you all have lied 
    Time does not bring relief; you all have lied   
    Who told me time would ease me of my pain!   
    I miss him in the weeping of the rain;   
    I want him at the shrinking of the tide;
    The old snows melt from every mountain-side,   
    And last year’s leaves are smoke in every lane;   
    But last year’s bitter loving must remain
    Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide.   
    There are a hundred places where I fear   
    To go,—so with his memory they brim.   
    And entering with relief some quiet place   
    Where never fell his foot or shone his face   
    I say, “There is no memory of him here!”   
    And so stand stricken, so remembering him.

    3. I shall forget you presently
    I shall forget you presently, my dear,
    So make the most of this, your little day,
    Your little month, your little half a year
    Ere I forget, or die, or move away,
    And we are done forever; by and by
    I shall forget you, as I said, but now,
    If you entreat me with your loveliest lie
    I will protest you with my favorite vow.
    I would indeed that love were longer-lived,
    And vows were not so brittle as they are,
    But so it is, and nature has contrived
    To struggle on without a break thus far,—
    Whether or not we find what we are seeking
    Is idle, biologically speaking.
  • Sonnets of Love and Chaos • 8’ • SATB (div.) a cappella
    Movement 1: What lips my lips have kissed
    Movement 2: I will put chaos into fourteen lines

    AUDIO
    Volti; Robert Geary, conductor

    POET
    Edna St. Vincent Millay

    COMMISSIONER

    Commissioned by the Dale Warland Singers

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
    Click here to email Inkjar for purchasing options

    PERUSAL SCORE
    Click here

    PROGRAM NOTES
    Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950) was an American poet who produced a great body of work in her lifetime. Among her works are several books of poetry, essays, plays, an opera libretto, and over two hundred sonnets. The sonnets cover a vast range of topics including love, loss, beauty, music, death, war, science, legendary figures, and the end of humanity. Beautifully constructed, I find that many of Millay’s sonnets are well suited to be set to music. From 2000-2006, I set sixteen of her sonnets for a cappella choir, arranged into six sonnet sets.

    In the first movement of
    Sonnets of Love and Chaos, Millay reminisces about her past loves, while in the second movement, she muses how to contain chaos within the fourteen lines of a sonnet's structure.
    -S.G.

    TEXTS
    1. What lips my lips have kissed
    What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why, 
    I have forgotten, and what arms have lain 
    Under my head till morning; but the rain 
    Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh 
    Upon the glass and listen for reply, 
    And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain 
    For unremembered lads that not again 
    Will turn to me at midnight with a cry. 

    Thus in the winter stands the lonely tree, 
    Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one, 
    Yet knows its boughs more silent than before: 
    I cannot say what loves have come and gone, 
    I only know that summer sang in me 
    A little while, that in me sings no more.

    2. I will put Chaos into fourteen lines
    I will put Chaos into fourteen lines
    And keep him there; and let him thence escape
    If he be lucky; let him twist, and ape
    Flood, fire, and demon --- his adroit designs
    Will strain to nothing in the strict confines
    Of this sweet order, where, in pious rape,
    I hold his essence and amorphous shape,
    Till he with Order mingles and combines.
    Past are the hours, the years of our duress,
    His arrogance, our awful servitude:
    I have him. He is nothing more nor less
    Than something simple not yet understood;
    I shall not even force him to confess;
    Or answer. I will only make him good.
  • Sonnets of the Fatal Interview • 14’ • SATB (div.) a cappella
    Movement 1: This beast that rends me
    Movement 3: Hearing your words
    Movement 2: Since of no creature living
    Movement 4: I know my mind

    AUDIO
    Ensemble of the North; Patrick McDonough, conductor

    POET
    Edna St. Vincent Millay

    COMMISSIONER
    Ensemble of the North

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
    Click here to email Inkjar for purchasing options

    PERUSAL SCORE
    Click here

    PROGRAM NOTES
    Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950) was an American poet who produced a great body of work in her lifetime. Among her works are several books of poetry, essays, plays, an opera libretto, and over two hundred sonnets. The sonnets cover a vast range of topics including love, loss, beauty, music, death, war, science, legendary figures, and the end of humanity. Beautifully constructed, I find that many of Millay’s sonnets are well suited to be set to music. From 2000-2006, I set sixteen of her sonnets for a cappella choir, arranged into six sonnet sets.

    “By our first strange and fatall interview,
    By all desires which thereof did ensue,”
    -John Donne

    These words are found at the beginning of
    The Fatal Interview, a book of sonnets written in 1931 by Millay. While married to Eugene Boissevain, Millay had a long-term love affair with George Dillon, a poet who was fourteen years her junior. This affair inspired her to write the fifty two sonnets that comprise The Fatal Interview; John Donne’s poetry aptly describes the sparks that flew after Millay and Dillon first met.

    In
    Sonnets of the Fatal Interview, I set four sonnets that outline the curve of Millay’s and Dillon’s relationship. This beast that rends me (mvmt. 1) shows Millay’s desire for Dillon; Since of no creature (mvmt. 2) living illustrates her deep love for him; Hearing your words (mvmt. 3) and I know my mind (mvmt. 4) trace her decision to break off the affair with Dillon and return to her husband.
    -S.G.

    TEXTS
    1. This beast that rends me
    This beast that rends me in the sight of all,
    This love, this longing, this oblivious thing,
    That has me under as the last leaves fall,
    Will glut, will sicken, will be gone by spring.
    The wound will heal, the fever will abate,
    The knotted hurt will slacken in the breast;
    I shall forget before the flickers mate
    Your look that is today my east and west.
    Unscathed, however, from a claw so deep
    Though I should love again I shall not go:
    Along my body, waking while I sleep,
    Sharp to the kiss, cold to the hand as snow,
    The scar of this encounter like a sword
    Will lie between me and my troubled lord.

    2. Since of no creature living
    Since of no creature living the last breath
    Is twice required, or twice the ultimate pain,
    Seeing how to quit your arms is very death,
    'Tis likely that I shall not die again;
    And likely 'tis that Time whose gross decree
    Sends now the dawn to clamour at our door,
    Thus having done his evil worst to me,
    Will thrust me by, will harry me no more.
    When you are corn and roses and at rest
    I shall endure, a dense and sanguine ghost,
    To haunt the scene where I was happiest,
    To bend above the thing I loved the most;
    And rise, and wring my hands, and steal away
    As I do now, before the advancing day.

    3. Hearing your words
    Hearing your words, and not a word among them
    Tuned to my liking, on a salty day
    When inland woods were pushed by winds that flung them
    Hissing to leeward like a ton of spray,
    I thought how off Matinicus the tide
    Came pounding in, came running though the Gut,
    While from the Rock the warning whistle cried,
    And children whimpered and the doors blew shut;
    There in the autumn when the men go forth,
    With slapping skirts the island women stand
    In gardens stripped and scattered, peering north,
    With dahlia tubers dripping from the hand:
    The wind of their endurance, driving south,
    Flattened your words against your speaking mouth.

    4. I know my mind
    I know my mind and I have made my choice;
    Not from your temper does my doom depend;
    Love me or love me not, you have no voice
    In this, which is my portion to the end.
    Your presence and your favours, the full part
    That you could give, you now can take away:
    What lies between your beauty and my heart
    Not even you can trouble or betray.
    Mistake me not — unto my inmost core
    I do desire your kiss upon my mouth;
    They have not craved a cup of water more
    That bleach upon the deserts of the south;
    Here might you bless me; what you cannot do
    Is bow me down, who have been loved by you.
  • Sonnets of Vanity, Loss, and Rapture • 9’30” • SATB (div.) a cappella Enter description here.
    Movement 1: Oh, think not I am faithful to a vow!
    Movement 3: When we are old
    Movement 2: The thought of you comes to destroy me

    AUDIO
    Murray State University Choir; Bradley Almquist, conductor

    POET
    Edna St. Vincent Millay

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
    Click here to email Inkjar for purchasing options

    PERUSAL SCORE
    Click here

    PROGRAM NOTES
    Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950) was an American poet who produced a great body of work in her lifetime. Among her works are several books of poetry, essays, plays, an opera libretto, and over two hundred sonnets. The sonnets cover a vast range of topics including love, loss, beauty, music, death, war, science, legendary figures, and the end of humanity. Beautifully constructed, I find that many of Millay’s sonnets are well suited to be set to music. From 2000-2006, I set sixteen of her sonnets for a cappella choir, arranged into six sonnet sets.

    Sonnets of Vanity, Loss, and Rapture explores three aspects of love (flirtation, obsession, and rapture) as expressed by a very passionate woman.
    -S.G.

    TEXTS
    1. Oh, think not I am faithful to a vow! 
    Oh, think not I am faithful to a vow! 
    Faithless am I save to love's self alone. 
    Were you not lovely I would leave you now: 
    After the feet of beauty fly my own. 
    Were you not still my hunger's rarest food, 
    And water ever to my wildest thirst, 
    I would desert you — think not but I would! — 
    And seek another as I sought you first. 
    But you are mobile as the veering air, 
    And all your charms more changeful than the tide, 
    Wherefore to be inconstant is no care: 
    I have but to continue at your side. 
    So wanton, light and false, my love, are you, 
    I am most faithless when I most am true. 

    2. The thought of you comes to destroy me

    Once more into my arid days like dew,
    Like wind from an oasis, or the sound
    Of cold sweet water bubbling underground,
    A treacherous messenger, the thought of you
    Comes to destroy me; once more I renew
    Firm faith in your abundance, whom I found
    Long since to be but just one other mound
    Of sand, whereon no green thing ever grew.
    And once again, and wiser in no wise,
    I chase your colored phantom on the air,
    And sob and curse and fall and weep and rise
    And stumble pitifully on to where,
    Miserable and lost, with stinging eyes,
    Once more I clasp, —and there is nothing there.

    3. When we are old
    When we are old and these rejoicing veins
    Are frosty channels to a muted stream,
    And out of all our burning their remains
    No feeblest spark to fire us, even in dream,
    This be our solace: that it was not said
    When we were young and warm and in our prime,
    Upon our couch we lay as lie the dead,
    Sleeping away the unreturning time.
    O sweet, O heavy-lidded, O my love,
    When morning strikes her spear upon the land,
    And we must rise and arm us and reprove
    The insolent daylight with a steady hand,
    Be not discountenanced if the knowing know
    We rose from rapture but an hour ago. 
  • Sonnets of War and Mankind • 8’30” • SATB (div.) a cappella Enter description here.
    Movement I: See how these masses mill and swarm
    Movement II: Epitaph for the Race of Man

    AUDIO
    Volti; Robert Geary, conductor

    POET
    Edna St. Vincent Millay

    COMMISSIONER
    Volti

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
    Click here to email Inkjar for purchasing options

    PERUSAL SCORE
    Click here

    PROGRAM NOTES
    Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950) was an American poet who produced a great body of work in her lifetime. Among her works are several books of poetry, essays, plays, an opera libretto, and over two hundred sonnets. The sonnets cover a vast range of topics including love, loss, beauty, music, death, war, science, legendary figures, and the end of humanity. Beautifully constructed, I find that many of Millay’s sonnets are well suited to be set to music. From 2000-2006, I set sixteen of her sonnets for a cappella choir, arranged into six sonnet sets.

    Sonnets of War and Mankind ruminates on Millay's thoughts of war and what will lead to the end of man.
    -S.G.

    TEXTS
    1. See how these masses mill and swarm
    See how these masses mill and swarm
    And troop and muster and assail:
    God! --- We could keep this planet warm
    By friction, if the sun should fail.
    Mercury, Saturn, Venus, Mars:
    If no prow cuts your arid seas,
    Then in your weightless air no wars
    Explode with such catastrophes
    As rock our planet all but loose
    From its frayed mooring to the sun.
    Law will not sanction such abuse
    Forever; when the mischief's done,
    Planets, rejoice, on which at night
    Rains but the twelve-ton meteorite.

    2. Epitaph for the Race of Man
    Here lies, and none to mourn him but the sea,
    That falls incessant on the empty shore,
    Most various Man, cut down to spring no more;
    Before his prime, even in his infancy
    Cut down, and all the clamour that was he,
    Silenced; and all the riveted pride he wore,
    A rusted iron column whose tall core
    The rains have tunnelled like an aspen tree.
    Man, doughty Man, what power has brought you low,
    That heaven itself in arms could not persuade
    To lay aside the lever and the spade
    And be as dust among the dusts that blow?
    Whence, whence the broadside? whose the heavy blade? . . .
    Strive not to speak, poor scattered mouth; I know.
 
Traditional Folksongs & Hymns
  • Hava Nagila • 3’50” • SATB (div.) a cappella

    AUDIO

    Days of Awe and Rejoicing • Chicago a cappella Records CAC 2006 • Purchase recording

    TEXT
    Traditional Jewish song

    COMMISSIONER

    Chicago a cappella

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
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    PERUSAL SCORE
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    TEXT

    Hava nagila, hava nagila
    Hava nagila ve-nis'mecha

    Hava neranena, hava neranena
    Hava neranena venis'mecha

    Uru, uru achim
    Uru achim belev same'ach.

    TRANSLATION

    Let us rejoice, let us rejoice
    Let us rejoice and be glad

    Let us sing, let us sing
    Let us sing and be glad

    Awaken, awaken brethren
    Awaken brethren with a cheerful heart.
  • Jarba, Mare Jarba • 4’ • mens’ chorus a cappella
    AUDIO
    The Gypsy in My Soul • Chanticleer Records CLIC011 • Purchase recording

    TEXT
    Traditional Hungarian-Romani folksong

    COMMISSIONER
    Chanticleer

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
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    PERUSAL SCORE
    Click here

    TEXT
    Transliteration
    Jarba, mare jarba mas duce a casa, da nu pot ca am jurat,
    Jarba, mare jarba mas duce a casa, da nu pot ca am jurat.
    Mare jarba, verde jarba nu me pot duce a casa.
    Jarba, mare jarba mas duce a casa, da nu pot ca am jurat.

    O mers mama de pe sat, O lasat coliba goala,
    Infrunzitu, ingurzitu da plina de saracie, da plina de saracie.
    Mare jarba, verde jarba nu me pot duce a casa.
    Jarba, mare jarba mas duce a casa, da nu pot ca am jurat.
    Translation
    Green grass, tall grass, I would like to go home,
    but I cannot, because I have sworn not to.
    Tall grass, green grass – oh, that I cannot go home!

    My mother has left the village; she left the hut empty,
    Adorned with leaves but full of poverty.
    Tall grass, green grass – oh, that I cannot go home!
    Tall grass, green grass – I would like to go home.
    but I cannot, because I have sworn not to.
  • Lo Yisa Goy • 5’ • SATB (div.) a cappella

    VIDEO
    The DC-based, all-star professional choir The Thirteen, under the direction of Matthew Robertson, performs Stacy Garrop's "Lo Yisa Goy." Recorded live and unedited on October 14, 2017 at St. Columba's Church, Washington, D.C.

    TEXT
    Traditional Jewish song

    COMMISSIONER
    Chicago a cappella

    ORDERING SCORES

    Inkjar Publishing Company
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    PERUSAL SCORE
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    TEXT

    Lo yisa goy el goy cherev
    Lo yilm’du od milchama.


    And they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
    and their spears into pruning hooks:
    nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.

    But they shall sit every man under his vine
    and under his fig tree;
    and none shall make them afraid:
    for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it.

    V’eyn machrid.
  • Veni, Veni Emmanuel • 4’40” • SATB (div.) a cappella

    VIDEO
    South Bend Chamber Singers; Nancy Menk, conductor

    TEXT
    Traditional advent hymn, which has been given a new melody by the composer

    COMMISSIONER
    Commissioned by the South Bend Chamber Singers

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
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    PERUSAL SCORE
    Click here

    TEXT


    Veni veni, Emmanuel
    captivum solve Israel,
    qui gemit in exsilio,
    privatus Dei Filio.

    Refrain: 
    Gaude! Gaude!
    Emmanuel nascetur pro te Israel!

    Veni, veni, Rex Gentium,
    veni, Redemptor omnium,
    ut salvas tuos famulos
    peccati sibi conscios. 

    Refrain

    TRANSLATION

    O Come, O come, Emmanuel,
    and ransom captive Israel,
    that mourns in lonely exile here
    until the Son of God appear.

    Refrain:
    Rejoice! Rejoice!
    Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

    O come, Desire of nations, bind
    in one the hearts of all mankind;
    bid every strife and quarrel cease
    and fill the world with heaven's peace.

    Refrain
 
War
  • Epitaph for the Race of Man • 4’30” • SATB (div.) a cappella

    AUDIO
    Volti; Robert Geary, conductor

    POET
    Edna St. Vincent Millay

    COMMISSIONER
    Volti

    THIS IS A MOVEMENT FROM:
    Sonnets of War and Mankind

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
    Click here to email Inkjar for purchasing options

    PERUSAL SCORE
    Click here

    TEXT
    Here lies, and none to mourn him but the sea,
    That falls incessant on the empty shore,
    Most various Man, cut down to spring no more;
    Before his prime, even in his infancy
    Cut down, and all the clamour that was he,
    Silenced; and all the riveted pride he wore,
    A rusted iron column whose tall core
    The rains have tunnelled like an aspen tree.
    Man, doughty Man, what power has brought you low,
    That heaven itself in arms could not persuade
    To lay aside the lever and the spade
    And be as dust among the dusts that blow?
    Whence, whence the broadside? whose the heavy blade? . . .
    Strive not to speak, poor scattered mouth; I know.
  • See how these masses mill and swarm • 3’50” • SATB (div.) a cappella

    AUDIO
    Volti; Robert Geary, conductor

    POET
    Edna St. Vincent Millay

    COMMISSIONER
    Volti

    THIS IS A MOVEMENT FROM:
    Sonnets of War and Mankind

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
    Click here to email Inkjar for purchasing options

    PERUSAL SCORE
    Click here

    TEXT
    See how these masses mill and swarm
    And troop and muster and assail:
    God! --- We could keep this planet warm
    By friction, if the sun should fail.
    Mercury, Saturn, Venus, Mars:
    If no prow cuts your arid seas,
    Then in your weightless air no wars
    Explode with such catastrophes
    As rock our planet all but loose
    From its frayed mooring to the sun.
    Law will not sanction such abuse
    Forever; when the mischief's done,
    Planets, rejoice, on which at night
    Rains but the twelve-ton meteorite.

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