at the University of San Francisco

The Fromm Institute For Lifelong Learning

USF

 

FROMM INSTITUTE STUDENT ASSOCIATION

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Fall 2018
Faculty Presentations

In our continuing study of different musical forms employed by the composer, we turn to one of his favored areas:  Music for Choirs.  Throughout his life Britten was concerned that his writing be accessible to many different musical skills.  He also found, in choral music, a vehicle for poetic expression.  This week we explore two very different works:  “Hymn to St. Cecilia” with text by W.H. Auden and “Rejoice in the Lamb” with text by Christopher Smart.  Make sure that you have the lyrics in front of you as you experience each of these unique compositions.  Each work lasts fewer than fifteen minutes.

 

 

LISTENING:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6FJpg6IoHs

“Hymn to St. Cecilia” 1941, rev. 1967

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHge7vHuzcM

“Rejoice in the Lamb” 1943

 

LYRICS:

 

Text of Hymn to St. Cecilia

Text by W. H. Auden

 

I.

In a garden shady this holy lady

With reverent cadence and subtle psalm,

Like a black swan as death came on

Poured forth her song in perfect calm:

And by ocean's margin this innocent virgin

Constructed an organ to enlarge her prayer,

And notes tremendous from her great engine

Thundered out on the Roman air.

Blonde Aphrodite rose up excited,

Moved to delight by the melody,

White as an orchid she rode quite naked

In an oyster shell on top of the sea;

At sounds so entrancing the angels dancing

Came out of their trance into time again,

And around the wicked in Hell's abysses

The huge flame flickered and eased their pain.

Blessed Cecilia, appear in visions

To all musicians, appear and inspire:

Translated Daughter, come down and startle

Composing mortals with immortal fire.

 

II.

I cannot grow;

I have no shadow

To run away from,

I only play.

I cannot err;

There is no creature

Whom I belong to,

Whom I could wrong.

I am defeat

When it knows it

Can now do nothing

By suffering.

All you lived through,

Dancing because you

No longer need it

For any deed.

I shall never be Different. Love me.

Blessed Cecilia, appear in visions

To all musicians, appear and inspire:

Translated Daughter, come down and startle

Composing mortals with immortal fire.

 

III.

O ear whose creatures cannot wish to fall,

O calm of spaces unafraid of weight,

Where Sorrow is herself, forgetting all

The gaucheness of her adolescent state,

Where Hope within the altogether strange

From every outworn image is released,

And Dread born whole and normal like a beast

Into a world of truths that never change:

Restore our fallen day; O re-arrange.

O dear white children casual as birds,

Playing among the ruined languages,

So small beside their large confusing words,

So gay against the greater silences

Of dreadful things you did: O hang the head,

Impetuous child with the tremendous brain,

O weep, child, weep, O weep away the stain,

Lost innocence who wished your lover dead,

Weep for the lives your wishes never led.

O cry created as the bow of sin Is drawn across our trembling violin.

O weep, child, weep, O weep away the stain.

O law drummed out by hearts against the still

Long winter of our intellectual will.

That what has been may never be again.

O flute that throbs with the thanksgiving breath

Of convalescents on the shores of death.

O bless the freedom that you never chose.

O trumpets that unguarded children blow

About the fortress of their inner foe.

O wear your tribulation like a rose.

Blessed Cecilia, appear in visions

To all musicians, appear and inspire:

Translated Daughter, come down and startle

Composing mortals with immortal fire

 

 

 

Text of Rejoice in the Lamb, Op. 30

Text by Christopher Smart

 

Rejoice in God, O ye Tongues;

Give the glory to the Lord,

And the Lamb.

Nations, and languages,

And every Creature

In which is the breath of Life.

Let man and beast appear before him,

And magnify his name together.

Let Nimrod, the mighty hunter,

Bind a leopard to the altar

And consecrate his spear to the Lord.

Let Ishmail dedicate a tyger,

And give praise for the liberty

In which the Lord has let him at large.

Let Balaam appear with an ass,

And bless the Lord his people

And his creatures for a reward eternal.

Let Daniel come forth with a lion,

And praise God with all his might

Through faith in Christ Jesus.

Let Ithamar minister with a chamois,

And bless the name of Him

That cloatheth the naked.

Let Jakim with the satyr

Bless God in the dance,

Dance, dance, dance.

Let David bless with the bear

The beginning of victory to the Lord,

To the Lord the perfection of excellence.

Hallelujah, hallelujah,

Hallelujah for the heart of God,

And from the hand of the artist inimitable,

And from the echo of the heavenly harp

In sweetness magnifical and mighty.

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah.

For I will consider my cat Jeoffry.

For he is the servant of the living God.

Duly and daily serving him.

For at the first glance

Of the glory of God in the East

He worships in his way.

For this is done by wreathing his body

Seven times round with elegant quickness.

For he knows that God is his saviour.

For God has bless'd him

In the variety of his movements.

For there is nothing sweeter

Than his peace when at rest.

For I am possessed of a cat,

Surpassing in beauty,

From whom I take occasion

To bless Almighty God.

For the Mouse is a creature

Of great personal valour.

For this is a true case--

Cat takes female mouse,

Male mouse will not depart,

but stands threat'ning and daring.

If you will let her go,

I will engage you,

As prodigious a creature as you are.

For the Mouse is a creature

Of great personal valour.

For the Mouse is of

An hospitable disposition.

For the flowers are great blessings.

For the flowers are great blessings.

For the flowers have their angels,

Even the words of God's creation.

For the flower glorifies God

And the root parries the adversary.

For there is a language of flowers.

For the flowers are peculiarly

The poetry of Christ.

For I am under the same accusation

With my Savior,

For they said,

He is besides himself.

For the officers of the peace

Are at variance with me,

And the watchman smites me

With his staff.

For the silly fellow, silly fellow,

Is against me,

And belongeth neither to me

Nor to my family.

For I am in twelve hardships,

But he that was born of a virgin

Shall deliver me out of all,

Shall deliver me out of all.

For H is a spirit

And therefore he is God.

For K is king

And therefore he is God.

For L is love

And therefore he is God.

For M is musick

And therefore he is God.

And therefore he is God.

For the instruments are by their rhimes,

For the shawm rhimes are lawn fawn and the like.

For the shawm rhimes are moon boon and the like.

For the harp rhimes are sing ring and the like.

For the harp rhimes are ring string and the like.

For the cymbal rhimes are bell well and the like.

For the cymbal rhimes are toll soul and the like.

For the flute rhimes are tooth youth and the like.

For the flute rhimes are suit mute and the like.

For the bassoon rhimes are pass class and the like.

For the dulcimer rhimes are grace place and the like.

For the clarinet rhimes are clean seen and the like.

For the trumpet rhimes are sound bound and the like.

For the trumpet of God is a blessed intelligence

And so are all the instruments in Heav'n.

For God the Father Almighty plays upon the harp

Of stupendous magnitude and melody.

For at that time malignity ceases

And the devils themselves are at peace.

For this time is perceptible to man

By a remarkable stillness and serenity of soul.

Hallelujah, hallelujah,

Hallelujah for the heart of God,

And from the hand of the artist inimitable,

And from the echo of the heavenly harp

In sweetness magnifical and mighty.

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah.

 

ASSIGNMENT/ WEEK FOUR

 

Music for Choirs

 

Seminar: Benjamin Britten

Professor:  Jonathan Bailey

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