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Songs of Joy and Refuge


I. Joy
II. Refuge

DURATION
4’

INSTRUMENTATION
SATB (div.)
young adult or adult choir a cappella

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

POET
Sara Teasdale

YEAR COMPOSED
2012

COMMISSIONER
Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir

ORDERING SCORES
Inkjar Publishing Company
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PERUSAL SCORE
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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.