Lyrics and Texts

 

“Wilderness” Symphony (No.1)

Text from the poem Wilderness by Carl Sandburg

 

There is a wolf in me...

fangs pointed for tearing gashes...

a red tongue for raw meat...

and the hot lapping of blood-

I keep this wolf because

the wilderness gave it to me

and the wilderness will not let it go.

 

There is a fox in me...

a silver gray fox...

I sniff and guess...

I pick things out of the wind and air...

I nose in the dark night

and take sleepers and eat them

and hide the feathers...

I circle and loop and double-cross.

 

There is a hog in me...

a snout and a belly...

a machinery for eating and grunting...

a machinery for sleeping satisfied in the

sun...

I got this too from the wilderness and the wilderness will not let it go.

 

There is a fish in me...

I know I came from salt blue water- gates...

I scurried with shoals of herring...

I blew waterspouts with porpoises...

before land was..before Noah...

before the first chapter of Genesis.

 

There is a baboon in me...

clambering-clawed..dog-faced...

yawping a galoot’s hunger...

hairy under the armpits...

here are the hawk-eyed hankering men...

here are the blond and blue-eyed women...

here they hide curled asleep, waiting...

ready to snarl and kill...

ready to sing and give milk..waiting...

I keep the baboon because the wilderness

says so.

 

There is an eagle in me and a mockingbird...

and the eagle flies

among the Rocky Mountain of my dreams

and fights among the Sierra crags of what

I want...

and the mockingbird warbles in the early

forenoon

before the dew is gone,

warbles in the underbrush of my Chattanoogas of hope,

gushes over the blue Ozark foothills of my wishes-

and I got the eagle and the mockingbird from the wilderness.

 

Oh, I got a zoo.

I got a menagerie inside my ribs,

under my bony head, under my red-valve

heart-

and I got something else:

it is a man-child heart, a woman-child heart:

it is father and mother and lover:

it came from God-Knows-Where:

it is going to God-Knows-Where-

For I am the keeper of the zoo:

I say yes and no:

I sing and kill and work:

I am a pal of the world:

I came from the wilderness.

 

From Cornhuskers, copyright 1918 by Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, Inc. and renewed 1946 by Carl Sandburg, recorded by permission of Harcourt, Brace & Company.

 

 

“Lighthouse” Symphony (No. 2)

Wolfgang Borchert’s “lighthouse” poem, recited in the first movement, describes an artistic voice in need: From Laterne, Nacht, und Sterne, 1946, Rowohlt Theater Verlag. Translation by Elizabeth R. Austin

 

I wish I were a lighthouse in night and wind — for cod and smelt, for every boat — yet am myself a ship in need!

 

 

Sonnets from the Portuguese (soprano & piano)

Text by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

 

I. The face of all the world

The face of all the world is changed, I think,

Since first I heard the footsteps of thy soul

Move still, oh still, beside me as they stole

Betwixt me and the dreadful outer brink of obvious death,

where I who thought to sink

Was caught up into love, and taught the whole

Of life in a new rhythm.

The cup of dole God gave for baptism,

I am fain to drink,

And praise its sweetness, Sweet, with thee anear,

The name of country, heaven, are changed away

For where thou art or shall be, there or here;

And this- this lute and song- loved yesterday,

(The singing angels know) are only dear

Because thy name moves right in what they say.

 

II. Say over again

Say over again and yet once over again

That thou dost love me.

Though the word repeated

Should seem a cuckoo song, as thou dost treat it,

Remember, never to hill or plain,

Valley or wood, without her cuckoo strain

Comes the fresh spring in all her green completed!

Beloved, I, amid the darkness greeted

By a doubtful spirit voice, in that doubt’s pain

Cry, “Speak once more, thou lovest!”.

Who can fear too many stars,

Though each in heaven shall roll,

Too many flowers, though each shall crown the year?

Say thou dost love me, love me, love me-

Toll the silver iterance!- only minding, Dear,

To love me also in silence with thy soul.

 

III. Unlike are we

Unlike are we, unlike, O princely heart!

Unlike our uses and our destinies.

Our ministering two angels look surprise on one another

As they strike athwart their wings in passing.

Thou, bethink thee, art a guest for queens to social pageantries,

With gazes from a hundred brighter eyes

Than tears even can make mine, to ply thy part of chief musician.

What hast thou to do with looking from the lattice lights at me,

A poor tired wandering singer,- singing through the dark,

And leaning up a cypress tree?

The chrism is on thine head,- on mine, the dew,

And death must dig the level where these agree.

 

IV. First time he kissed me

First time he kissed me, he but only kissed

The fingers of this hand wherewith I write,

And ever since it grew more clean and white,-

Slow to world greetings, quick with its “Oh list,”

When the angels speak. A ring of amethyst

I could not wear here plainer to my sight

Than that first kiss.

The second passed in height the first,

And sought the forehead, and half missed,

O beyond need! That was the chrism of love

Which love’s own crown, with sanctifying sweetness did precede.

The third upon my lips was folded down

In perfect purple state. Since when indeed,

I have been proud to say, “My love, my own.”

 

V. How do I love thee?

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight

For the ends of Being and Ideal Grace.

I love thee to the level of every day’s

Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.

I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;

I love thee purely, as men turn from Praise;

I love thee with the passion put to use

In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.

I love thee with a love I seemed to lose

With my lost saints, I love thee with the

Breath, smiles, tears of all my life!

And, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.

 

 

Three Rilke Lieder for soprano, baritone, piano

Poetry by Rainer Maria Rilke

Translation by Elizabeth R. Austin

 

Autumn Day

Lord, it is time. The summer lingered long.

Lay your shadows on the sundials,

and in the meadows let the winds blow free.

Command the ripening fruits that they be full.

grant them two more warm and southerly days,

urge them to reach their perfection and press

the final sweetness into the heavy wine.

Who has no home now, builds a house no more.

Who is alone now, they shall long remain so,

awake and reading, writing endless letters,

will walk along the boulevard to and fro

restlessly strolling, as the leaves float down.

 

Autumn

The leaves are falling, falling as from afar.

as if fading in the heavens’ distant gardens;

they fall down as with gestures of denial.

And in the nighttime, the heavy earth is falling

from all the stars down into solitude.

We are all falling. This hand now falls.

And look around you: it is in all of us.

And yet there is One who embraces this very falling

Unendingly and gently in his hands.

 

Love-Song

How shall I hold my soul apart from yours

so that they do not touch? How shall I

lift it high up over you to other things?

Oh willingly would I find it shelter with some

lost thing forlornly wandering in the darkness

in an unfamiliar silent place

which vibrates not when your very deepness vibrates.

Yet everything that touches us, you and me,

takes us together as a bow stroke does,

that out of two strings, a single voice is drawn.

Upon what instrument are we spanned?

And which Performer has us in his hand? O sweet song.

 

 

 

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