Spirits In Bondage

Benjamin C.S. Boyle composer
Lyric Fest

Release Date: August 12, 2022
Catalog #: NV6450
Format: Digital & Physical
21st Century
Vocal Music
Piano
Voice

Poetry and music have often been described as “beautiful sisters” in the European tradition, and American composer Benjamin C. S. Boyle sets out to prove just how harmonious this kinship can be. Owing to pianist and art song expert Laura Ward as well as to a selection of top-class singers, these elaborate yet easily accessible vocal compositions are resplendently brought to life on SPIRITS IN BONDAGE.

The lyrics underpinning this double album are often fantastical, but Boyle prudently renounces any notion of musical pomp and instead sets them in an agreeably-reduced, crystal-clear tonal language. Ward and her high-carat assortment of vocalists empathetically, wisely oblige and perform them likewise – and the result is magnificent.

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Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
Disc One
01 Lenoriana, Op. 4: Annabel Lee Benjamin C.S. Boyle Laura Ward, piano; Randall Scarlata, baritone 4:24
02 Lenoriana, Op. 4: Lenore I Benjamin C.S. Boyle Laura Ward, piano; Randall Scarlata, baritone 4:10
03 Lenoriana, Op. 4: To __ Benjamin C.S. Boyle Laura Ward, piano; Randall Scarlata, baritone 1:46
04 Lenoriana, Op. 4: The Conqueror Worm Benjamin C.S. Boyle Laura Ward, piano; Randall Scarlata, baritone 4:30
05 Lenoriana, Op. 4: Intermezzo Benjamin C.S. Boyle Laura Ward, piano; Randall Scarlata, baritone 2:18
06 Lenoriana, Op. 4: El Dorado Benjamin C.S. Boyle Laura Ward, piano; Randall Scarlata, baritone 1:59
07 Lenoriana, Op. 4: Lenore II Benjamin C.S. Boyle Laura Ward, piano; Randall Scarlata, baritone 5:36
08 Lenoriana, Op. 4: A Dream within a Dream Benjamin C.S. Boyle Laura Ward, piano; Randall Scarlata, baritone 1:54
09 Lenoriana, Op. 4: To Helen Benjamin C.S. Boyle Laura Ward, piano; Randall Scarlata, baritone 3:54
10 Zelda’s Dream, Op. 35 Benjamin C.S. Boyle Laura Ward, piano; Kelly Ann Bixby, soprano 4:21
11 Le dormeur du Val, Op. 42 Benjamin C.S. Boyle Laura Ward, piano; Bryan Hymel, tenor; Barbara Prugh, trumpet 3:34
12 Reverie and Lullaby, Op. 38: Reverie Benjamin C.S. Boyle Laura Ward, piano; Devony Smith, mezzo-soprano 2:36
13 Reverie and Lullaby, Op. 38: Lullaby Benjamin C.S. Boyle Laura Ward, piano; Devony Smith, mezzo-soprano 3:23
14 Trois Chansons, Op. 11: Le flambeau vivant Benjamin C.S. Boyle Laura Ward, piano; Sarah Shafer, soprano 3:47
15 Trois Chansons, Op. 11: Harmonie du soir Benjamin C.S. Boyle Laura Ward, piano; Sarah Shafer, soprano 2:48
16 Trois Chansons, Op. 11: Sonnet d’automne Benjamin C.S. Boyle Laura Ward, piano; Sarah Shafer, soprano 3:33
17 Guinevere, Op. 29 Benjamin C.S. Boyle Laura Ward, piano; Hannah Ludwig, mezzo-soprano 7:18
Disc Two
01 Chansons de Diane, Op. 24: Sisina Benjamin C.S. Boyle Laura Ward, piano; Irini Kyriakidou, soprano; Bryan Hymel, tenor 2:13
02 Chansons de Diane, Op. 24: Parfum exotique Benjamin C.S. Boyle Laura Ward, piano; Irini Kyriakidou, soprano; Bryan Hymel, tenor 4:22
03 Chansons de Diane, Op. 24: La priere d’un païen Benjamin C.S. Boyle Laura Ward, piano; Irini Kyriakidou, soprano; Bryan Hymel, tenor 2:47
04 Chansons de Diane, Op. 24: La beauté Benjamin C.S. Boyle Laura Ward, piano; Irini Kyriakidou, soprano; Bryan Hymel, tenor 4:11
05 Ophelia, Op. 3 Benjamin C.S. Boyle Laura Ward, piano; Kelly Ann Bixby, soprano 7:41
06 Folksongs from another World, Op. 25: A Nymph’s Passion Benjamin C.S. Boyle Laura Ward, piano; Hannah Ludwig, mezzo-soprano 1:32
07 Folksongs from another World, Op. 25: The Message Benjamin C.S. Boyle Laura Ward, piano; Hannah Ludwig, mezzo-soprano 2:53
08 Folksongs from another World, Op. 25: To Music, to Becalm his Fever Benjamin C.S. Boyle Laura Ward, piano; Hannah Ludwig, mezzo-soprano 4:43
09 Folksongs from another World, Op. 25: Dawn Benjamin C.S. Boyle Laura Ward, piano; Hannah Ludwig, mezzo-soprano 1:32
10 Folksongs from another World, Op. 25: Karolin’s Song Benjamin C.S. Boyle Laura Ward, piano; Hannah Ludwig, mezzo-soprano 2:41
11 Songs of Virtue and Loss, Op. 30: Survival Benjamin C.S. Boyle Laura Ward, piano; Kelly Ann Bixby, soprano 2:33
12 Songs of Virtue and Loss, Op. 30: Patience Benjamin C.S. Boyle Laura Ward, piano; Kelly Ann Bixby, soprano 3:45
13 Spirits in Bondage, Op. 40: Prolouge Benjamin C.S. Boyle Laura Ward, piano; Dan Teadt, baritone 2:48
14 Spirits in Bondage, Op. 40: Satan Speaks Benjamin C.S. Boyle Laura Ward, piano; Dan Teadt, baritone 1:09
15 Spirits in Bondage, Op. 40: Victory Benjamin C.S. Boyle Laura Ward, piano; Dan Teadt, baritone 3:43
16 Spirits in Bondage, Op. 40: Night Benjamin C.S. Boyle Laura Ward, piano; Dan Teadt, baritone 1:41
17 Spirits in Bondage, Op. 40: Alexandrines Benjamin C.S. Boyle Laura Ward, piano; Dan Teadt, baritone 2:09
18 Spirits in Bondage, Op. 40: Spooks Benjamin C.S. Boyle Laura Ward, piano; Dan Teadt, baritone 4:00
19 Spirits in Bondage, Op. 40: World’s Desire Benjamin C.S. Boyle Laura Ward, piano; Dan Teadt, baritone 3:45

Spirits In Bondage
commissioned by Lyric Fest with generous support of Christina Stasiuk and George Farion

Zelda’s DreamPatienceReverie, and Lullaby commissioned by Lyric Fest

Engineer Paul VazquezDMAS DigitalMission Audio Services
Producer Benjamin C.S. Boyle

Cover Art Red Thorns by Odilon Redon
Inside Panel Art La Sulamite by Odilon Redon

We give our heartfelt thanks to Jeffrey Brillhart and Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church for the use of the sanctuary and the Baldwin Concert Grand Piano.
A very generous anonymous donor
Musical Fund Society
Lauren & Craig Meyer
Carnegie Mellon University
John & Sandra Stouffer
Paul & Sharon Burgmayer

Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw
A&R Director Brandon MacNeil
A&R Chris Robinson

VP of Production Jan Košulič
Audio Director Lucas Paquette

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. FlemingMorgan Hauber
Publicity Patrick NilandAidan Curran

Artist Information

Benjamin C.S. Boyle

Composer

Benjamin C.S. Boyle is an American composer, pianist, and theorist. His works have been commissioned and premiered by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Chicago Lyric Opera, Montreal Chamber Orchestra, the Kobe City Orchestra, the Crossing Choir, Lyric Fest, and many others. The Crossing Choir’s recording of his Cantata No. 2: Voyages was nominated for a GRAMMY in 2020 for Best Choral Performance. In 2008, at the piano, he gave the U.S. premiere of his Sonata-Fantasy with violinist Tim Fain at the Kennedy Center in Washington and Merkin Hall in New York. In 2005, Bacchanalia Orchestra premiered the Cantata No.1: To One in Paradise for string orchestra and four vocal soloists in New York. He was composer-in-residence with Young Concert Artists from 2005-2007 and received representation from them for many years.

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Laura Ward

Pianist

Laura Ward is pianist and Co-Artistic Director of Lyric Fest. As a distinguished collaborative pianist she is known for both her technical ability and vast knowledge of repertoire and styles. Concert engagements have taken her to Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Spoleto Festival (Italy) and the Colmar International Music Festival and Saint Denis Festival in France.

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Lyric Fest

Ensemble

Lyric Fest has been hailed in the press as “An irresistible mix of high art and humane feeling…as entertaining as a well-managed party.” (Tom Purdom, Broad Street Review) It was founded in 2003 with the goal of celebrating and revitalizing the song tradition, and is the only performing arts organization in the Mid-Atlantic region with a primary focus on song and art song in all its varied expression. Now in its 20th season, LF is run by its co-founding artistic directors, Suzanne DuPlantis and Laura Ward. LF has produced and presented over 100 distinctly crafted and curated concert programs featuring more than 250 local, regional and national performing artists. LF has brought programs to Washington DC, Moorestown NJ, Wilmington DE, New Orleans LA, Pittsburgh PA, New York City NY, San Jose CA, and Brooklyn NY. Commissioning and performing new works has become an integral part of LF’s mission and programming philosophy. Since its founding, LF has commissioned and premiered over 60 new works (solo songs, full cycles and arrangements) by local, regional, and nationally recognized composers. LF generates and facilitates partnership with composers, providing them opportunities for creating and mounting performances of their work.

Kelly Ann Bixby

Soprano

Soprano Kelly Ann Bixby is a consummate artist, educator, and interpreter of new works. Thriving in recital and on stage, she has appeared with Opera Philadelphia, The Spoleto Festival USA, Opera America, The Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, the Kimmel Center of Philadelphia, The Acadiana Symphony Orchestra, The Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra, and has been a perennial singer with Lyric Fest since 2014. Bixby is a core member and featured soloist in the new music chamber ensemble, The Crossing, receiving two GRAMMY Awards for Best Choral Performance (2018, 2019) and seven nominations.

A dynamic collaborator and recording artist, she can be heard on over 15 albums on the Innova, ECM, and Naxos labels, including Opera America’s New American Songbook and Daron Hagen: 21st Century Song Cycles. In 2014, she was the Eastern Region Winner and National Semifinalist for the NATS Artist Awards Competition. Committed to innovative pedagogy and mentorship, she founded The Fringe Ensemble, a collaborative chamber music opportunity for young artists, and has served on the faculty of OperaFest Sewanee and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Bixby earned her Masters degree in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from Westminster Choir College and a Bachelors and Doctorate in Vocal Performance from the University of Michigan.

“Each phrase invites the singer to explore, as if in flight; the gravity of sonority pulling against the ebb and flow of text. Inside of this world, expression is instinctual, line is inevitable, and harmony is courageously fresh. …as decadent as it is agile.”

Bryan Hymel

Tenor

Hailed by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung for his “range of expression and vocal power combined with the subtle art of characterization,” tenor Bryan Hymel was the winner of the 2013 Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera for his trio of performances in Les Troyens, Robert le diable, and Rusalka at London’s Royal Opera House. The New York Times praised his “unflagging stamina and impetuous abandon” during his 2012 Metropolitan Opera debut as Énée in Les Troyens, for which he was presented with the Metropolitan Opera’s Beverly Sills Artist Award. His first solo album Héroïque debuted at number 3 on the Billboard Classical Music chart, and earned Hymel the coveted Georges Thill Prize by the Académie Nationale du Disque Lyrique and the Newcomer of the Year Award from ECHO Klassik.

A favorite of audiences at London’s Royal Opera House, Hymel made his Covent Garden debut in 2010 as Don José in Carmen and has since returned for performances in Rusalka, Les Troyens, Robert le diable and Les Vêpres siciliennes. Hymel made his widely anticipated debut in 2015 at the Opéra National de Paris for performances of La Damnation de Faust, and returned later that season for performances of La Traviata. He made his Teatro alla Scala debut as Don José in 2010, later reprising the role with the Canadian Opera Company and in his debut at the Bayerische Staatsoper. His Metropolitan Opera debut came in 2012 with Les Troyens, and he returned in subsequent seasons for Madama Butterfly and La Bohème. He made his house and role debut as Percy in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s staging of Anna Bolena, as well as his San Francisco Opera debut in his renowned rendition of Énée in Les Troyens and his Washington National Opera debut as Don José in Carmen.

“Benjamin C.S. Boyle writes masterfully for the voice! I feel like he wrote Chansons de Diane for me and we hadn’t even met! The way his vocal lines ebb and flow against the piano parts, which then climax just at the right moment speaks to his gift and wonderful instincts. I program his music as much as possible in my recitals!”

Irini Kyriakidou

Soprano

Greek soprano Irini Kyriakidou continues to showcase her “sweet and virtuosic vocal talents” (The Observer) with opera companies and symphony orchestras internationally. Kyriakidou studied at the Maria Callas Conservatory of Athens under Marina Krilovici and is the winner of the second prize in the “Maria Callas Grand Prix,” in Athens, first prize in the European Competition “Debut 2004,” and the “Pro Europa” prize of the European Culture Foundation.

Kyriakidou was seen as Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi, Musetta in La Boheme, and Zerlina in Don Giovanni with the Greek National Opera. She went on to reprise the role of Zerlina in her debut at Venice’s Teatro La Fenice in 2010 and 2011. The role of Zerlina also brought her debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 2012.

Under the baton of Riccardo Muti, she performed as Cherinto in Demofoonte in her debuts with the Opéra national de Paris and the Ravenna Festival. A graduate of the International Opera Studio at Opernhaus Zürich, she performed as Pamina for the IOS production of Die Zauberflöte. Other roles include Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier with the Tel Aviv Opera, Xenia in Boris Godunov with Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse, Micaela in Carmen with New Orleans Opera and Opera Las Palmas. She has also sung at the Royal Opera House Muscat in Oman, Smetana Hall in Prague and at the Theatre des Champs Elysée in Paris.

Since January 2019 she has been teaching voice at Loyola University of New Orleans.

“To sing BCSB’s music is a thrilling experience and an intense emotional journey. To sing it in poetry that touches the core of your heritage alongside your husband is a whole other level of emotional depth. Benjamin’s music touched me in more ways than I could ever imagine and it was my privilege and honor to be chosen by him to be Diane’s voice for these extraordinary pieces.”

Hannah Ludwig

Soprano

The New York Times calls mezzo-soprano Hannah Ludwig “best in show” and further exclaims “her tone is chocolaty and large, yet with focus and agility, she captured the integral aspect of bel canto…expression emerging from a long, intelligently shaped musical line.”

A prolific interpreter of the repertoire of Rossini, she has joined Teatro Nuovo as Pippo in La Gazza Ladra and Isaura in Tancredi as well as earlier performances of Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Annapolis Opera. In 2021, she returned to Teatro Nuovo as Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia in the first in-person opera production in New York City since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Also in the bel canto realm, she sang her first performances of Giovanna Seymour in Anna Bolena with Baltimore Concert Opera and Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor with Opera Philadelphia. She made her Dallas Opera debut as Dritte Dame in Die Zauberflöte. On the concert stage, she sang her first performances of Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky with the Colorado Symphony and Mozart’s Requiem with the Columbus Symphony, both under the baton of Rossen Milanov, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with the Flint Symphony Orchestra. With the Aspen Music Festival, she performed Ursule in Béatrice et Bénédict conducted by Johannes Debus and Sesto in La clemenza di Tito led by Maestro Jane Glover. Other concert appearances include Handel’s Messiah with the9 Baltimore Symphony Orchestra as well as Mozart’s Requiem and Forrest’s Requiem for the Living with MidAmerica Productions at Carnegie Hall.

Ludwig is a graduate of the Academy of Vocal Arts and received her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of the Pacific.

Whenever I have the privilege to sing Benjamin’s music, I feel like I am participating in dreams. In both Guinevere and Folksongs from Another World, the vocal instrument exists to not only tell a fantasy but adds to the warmth and tenderness one has in sleep and dreaming. There is joy, pain, grief, and intensity and yet it is out of reality. It is not sharp and pointed. It embraces and consumes the artist.”

Randall Scarlata

Baritone

Known for his versatility and consummate musicianship, Randall Scarlata’s repertoire spans five centuries and 16 languages. A sought-after interpreter of new music, he has given world premieres of works by George Crumb, Paul Moravec, Richard Danielpour, Ned Rorem, Benjamin CS Boyle, Lori Laitman, Thea Musgrave, Samuel Adler, Hilda Paredes, Daron Hagen, Wolfram Wagner, and Christopher Theofanidis. He regularly performs the major German song cycles with pianists such as Cameron Stowe, Gilbert Kalish, Jeremy Denk, Jonathan Biss, Inon Barnatan, Peter Frankl, and Laura Ward. He is a regular guest with Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Lyric Fest, Chamber Music Northwest, the Seattle Chamber Music Festival, Kneisel Hall Festival, the Skaneateles Chamber Music Festival, among many others. In addition, Scarlata’s extensive recording catalog appears on the Chandos, Naxos, CRI, Gasparo, Arabesque, Bridge, Albany and Sono Luminus labels. His recording of Schubert’s Winterreise with pianist Gilbert Kalish was honored with a Grammy nomination for Best Classical Vocal Solo.

Scarlata has appeared on concert stages throughout Europe, North America, South America, Australia, and Asia. He has been a soloist with the Philadelphia and Minnesota Orchestras, and with the Pittsburgh, San Francisco, American, Sydney, Ulster, Tonkünstler, National, New World, and BBC Symphonies, as well as the early music groups Wiener Akademie, Grand Tour, Tempesta di Mare, and Musica Angelica, among others. Many of the world’s great music festivals have sought him out as a soloist, including the Ravinia, Marlboro, Edinburgh, Norfolk, Vienna, Music at Menlo, Gilmore, Salzburg, Norfolk, Aspen, and Spoleto (Italy) festivals.

“It is impossible to imagine Randall Scarlata singing a mechanical or thoughtless phrase. Scarlata searches out the Platonic essence of what he plans to sing and then uses every attribute at his disposal to create the most appropriate and fully dimensional realization possible.” (The Washington Post)

“Benjamin Boyle’s songs are among the most well-crafted vocal compositions of the 21st century. Their blend of sensuality and clarity appeals on first hearing, and there are countless details to be savored when revisited. Boyle sets English and French text beautifully, illuminating words with a sense of harmony rooted in Gallic tradition, but with an individual, exotic color palette.”

Sarah Shafer

Soprano

Praised by the New York Times for her “luminous voice” and “intensely expressive interpretations,” and named “remarkable, artistically mature” and “a singer to watch” by Opera News, American soprano Sarah Shafer performs with opera companies including The Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Glyndebourne, Opera Philadelphia, San Diego Opera, Cincinnati Opera, and Tulsa Opera. Equally at home in standard and contemporary repertoire, she has created leading roles in world premiere productions with San Francisco Opera, and debuted works by renowned composers Richard Danielpour, John Harbison, and Poul Ruders.

She has appeared in concert with many orchestras including the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the San Antonio Symphony, the Utah Symphony, the National Orchestra of Mexico, and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. An avid chamber musician and recitalist, she regularly collaborates with pianist Richard Goode at venues including Carnegie Hall and Atlanta’s Spivey Hall, and sings at prominent festivals throughout the United States and abroad, including the Oregon Bach Festival, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago, Bard Music Festival, and the Liszt Academy in Budapest, Hungary. Shafer was a 2014 Astral Artists winner. She spent five summers as a resident artist at the Marlboro Music Festival. Recordings include the debut of Richard Danielpour’s chamber work, Talking to Aphrodite with Naxos Records, Poul Ruder’s opera The Thirteenth Child with Bridge Records, and the world premiere recording of Jennifer Higdon’s Love Sweet with the Lysander Piano Trio with First Hand Records.

“Thank you for bringing so much beauty into the world.”

Devony Smith

Mezzo-Soprano

American mezzo soprano Devony Smith is an artist with deep and profound roots in the concert hall. Featured formerly by the Brooklyn Art Song Society in previous seasons in repertoire from Schubert to Canteloube, she was most recently chosen by the company to present a world premiere song cycle by Eve Beglarian. This season she will also appear in a concert of world premieres with Lyric Fest Philadelphia, where she will perform several world premieres including new songs by GRAMMY Award winning Jennifer Higdon.

After two seasons as a Stern Fellow and Sorel fellow at the prestigious Songfest Festival, Smith was invited by Yehuda Gilad to be featured as the soloist in Mahler’s 4th Symphony with the Colburn Symphony Orchestra. There are few American concert halls where Smith is not an active proponent of new and exciting works. From the Ravinia Steans Musical Institute to the Caramoor Center for the Arts as a Schwab Rising Star, to the Marilyn Horne Song Continues Workshop and Carnegie Citywide concerts, Smith’s commitment to new American works is palpable. This extends to the operatic stage, where she has held a long-standing relationship with the works of Pulitzer Prize finalist Kate Soper, notably touring her work Here be Sirens, and working to premiere her latest operatic work, The Romance of the Rose.

“I find Benjamin’s setting of these introspective texts by Sara Teasdale powerfully evocative.”

Daniel Teadt

Baritone

With a career spanning four continents, acclaimed baritone Martin Daniel Teadt is well known for his decades long experience on the recital, concert, and operatic stage.

Teadt performs major roles throughout the United States and Europe including engagements with New York City Opera, Arizona Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, San Francisco Opera, Anchorage Opera, Aix-en-Provence Festival, Opera Theater of Saint Louis, Ashlawn Opera Festival, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Opera Theater Summerfest, and Central City Opera among many others.

Concert highlights include GRAMMY Award winning performances with the London Symphony Orchestra, guest appearances with Los Angeles Philharmonic, Pacific Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony, New Haven Symphony, Akron Symphony, I Pomeriggi Musicale di Milano, Concerto Köln, Riverside Symphonia, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Resonance Works, Bell’Art Ensemble, Het Gelder Orkest, Orquestra Symphonique de Minais Gerais, Conspirare, Canticum Novum, and the Orchestras of the San Francisco Opera and Metropolitan Opera.

Recitalist appearances include the Ravinia Festival Steans Institute, New York Festival of Song, Music In A Great Space Recital Series, Aix-en-Provence Festival, Pittsburgh Song Collaborative, Lyric Fest of Philadelphia, San Francisco Opera Schwabacher Debut Recital Series as well as venues across the US and Europe. Daniel is a Professor of Voice at Carnegie Mellon University and lectures on English and American Song Literature. Masterclasses and Voice Residencies include major universities and institutions across the United States, Brazil, China, and Qatar.

Teadt’s recordings include releases from EMI Classics and Naxos.

“Singing Spirits In Bondage was an exploration into the connections between sonorous colors and the potency of word painting. Benjamin’s music illuminated CS Lewis’s poetry so exquisitely that I felt rewarded again and again through recording these profoundly moving pieces.”

Barbara Prugh

Trumpet

Barbara Prugh is highly regarded as a trumpet soloist throughout the greater Philadelphia music scene and beyond. She has been featured with many of the area’s top ensembles (i.e.,Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Singers, Bach Festival of Philadelphia) and performed and recorded with the Philadelphia Orchestra. She has toured in Europe as a soloist and been featured at several International Trumpet Guild conferences. Her solo CD is titled Barbara Prugh, Trumpet Artistry.

A native Delawarean, she received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware and a Master’s from the Eastman School of Music.

Notes

The continued endurance of the Art Song is multifaceted. On one hand, the genre is intimate — a single voice with a complex and psychologically intricate bond with a single pianist. Two artists in symbiosis, able to produce what aspires to the most nuanced and exquisitely detailed performance imaginable. The genre speaks to the composers who delight in the sub-atomic particles of music and the genetics of language. On the other hand, art songs can be grouped into cycles to tell stories of the most grand and universal nature (Dichterliebe of Schumann or Winterreise of Schubert), to encapsulate the sublimely elegiac (Faure’s Les horizon chimerique or Barber’s last three songs) or to let us travel to worlds far away both beautiful (Debussy’s Chansons de Bilitis) or terrifying (Ravel’s Chansons madecasses).

For me, a good art song composer must not only love poetry, but have something to add to it, without ever stepping in front of or disregarding the wishes and intentions of the poet — even if those wishes can only be divined from the distant past. Thus I have only ever set texts that resonate with me artistically and that I love.

The songs in this collection are a sampling of 20 years of Art Song composition. It contains large cycles telling large stories (Lenoriana and Spirits in Bondage), smaller sets of songs detailing an artistic theme or moment in time (Chansons de Diane and Folksongs from another World), and stand-alone larger songs telling the story of one character and the arc of her life (Ophelia, Guinevere, and Zelda’s Dream).

I am incredibly grateful to Lyric Fest for enabling the creation of this recording and commissioning several of the works, to Laura Ward for her endless determination and generous artistry, to Paul Vazquez for his incredible ears, and to my amazing singers, each of whom gave their very best for this recording.

— Benjamin C.S. Boyle

Texts

Poetry of Edgar Allan Poe

I. Annabel Lee

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love—
I and my Annabel Lee—
With a love that the wingèd seraphs of Heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsmen came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
Went envying her and me—
Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we—
Of many far wiser than we—
And neither the angels in Heaven above
Nor the demons down under the sea
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,
In her sepulchre there by the sea—
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

II. Lenore

AH, broken is the golden bowl!
The spirit flown forever!
Let the bell toll! — A saintly soul
Glides down the Stygian river!
And let the burial rite be read —
The funeral song be sung —
A dirge for the most lovely dead
That ever died so young!
And, Guy De Vere,
Hast thou no tear?
Weep now or nevermore!
See, on yon drear
And rigid bier,
Low lies thy love Lenore!

“Yon heir, whose cheeks of pallid hue
With tears are streaming wet,
Sees only, through
Their crocodile dew,
A vacant coronet —
False friends! ye loved her for her wealth
And hated her for her pride,
And, when she fell in feeble health,
Ye blessed her — that she died.
How shall the ritual, then, be read?
The requiem how be sung
For her most wrong’d of all the dead
That ever died so young?”

III. To

I HEED not that my earthly lot
Hath —— little of Earth in it —
That years of love have been forgot
In the hatred of a minute: —
I mourn not that the desolate
Are happier, sweet, than I,
But that you sorrow for my fate
Who am a passer by.

IV. The Conqueror Worm

Lo! ’t is a gala night
Within the lonesome latter years! 
An angel throng, bewinged, bedight
In veils, and drowned in tears,  
Sit in a theatre, to see
A play of hopes and fears,
While the orchestra breathes fitfully
The music of the spheres.

Mimes, in the form of God on high,
Mutter and mumble low,
And hither and thither fly—
Mere puppets they, who come and go
At bidding of vast formless things
That shift the scenery to and fro,
Flapping from out their Condor wings
Invisible Wo!

That motley drama—oh, be sure
It shall not be forgot!
With its Phantom chased for evermore
By a crowd that seize it not,
Through a circle that ever returneth in
To the self-same spot,
And much of Madness, and more of Sin,
And Horror the soul of the plot.

But see, amid the mimic rout,
A crawling shape intrude!
A blood-red thing that writhes from out
The scenic solitude!
It writhes!—it writhes!—with mortal pangs
The mimes become its food,
And seraphs sob at vermin fangs
In human gore imbued.

Out—out are the lights—out all!
And, over each quivering form,
The curtain, a funeral pall,
Comes down with the rush of a storm,   
While the angels, all pallid and wan,
Uprising, unveiling, affirm
That the play is the tragedy, “Man,”
And its hero, the Conqueror Worm.

V. El Dorado

Gaily bedight,
A gallant knight,
In sunshine and in shadow,
Had journeyed long, 
Singing a song,
In search of Eldorado.

But he grew old—
This knight so bold—   
And o’er his heart a shadow—
Fell as he found
No spot of ground
That looked like Eldorado.

And, as his strength  
Failed him at length,
He met a pilgrim shadow—
‘Shadow,’ said he, 
‘Where can it be—
This land of Eldorado?’

‘Over the Mountains
Of the Moon,
Down the Valley of the Shadow,
Ride, boldly ride,’
The shade replied,—
‘If you seek for Eldorado!’

VII. Lenore

Peccavimus!
But rave not thus!
And let the solemn song
Go up to God so mournfully that she may feel no wrong!
The sweet Lenore
Hath “gone before”
With young hope at her side,
And thou art wild
For the dear child
That should have been thy bride —
For her, the fair
And debonair,
That now so lowly lies —
The life still there
Upon her hair,
The death upon her eyes.

“Avaunt! — to-night
My heart is light —
No dirge will I upraise,
But waft the angel on her flight
With a Pæan of old days!
Let no bell toll!
Lest her sweet soul,
Amid its hallow’d mirth,
Should catch the note
As it doth float
Up from the damned earth —
To friends above, from fiends below, th’ indignant ghost is riven —
From grief and moan
To a gold throne
Beside the King of Heaven?”

VIII. A Dream Within a Dream

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow —
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand —
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep — while I weep!
O God! Can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

IX. To Helen

Helen, thy beauty is to me
Like those Nicéan barks of yore,
That gently, o’er a perfumed sea,
The weary, way-worn wanderer bore
To his own native shore.

On desperate seas long wont to roam,
Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face,
Thy Naiad airs have brought me home
To the glory that was Greece,
And the grandeur that was Rome.

Lo! in yon brilliant window-niche
How statue-like I see thee stand,
The agate lamp within thy hand!
Ah, Psyche, from the regions which
Are Holy-Land!

Zelda Fitzgerald
Text excerpted from a letter from Zelda to F. Scott Fitzgerald, circa April 15, 1919 from Montgomery, Alabama

Everything seems so smooth and restful, like this yellow dusk.
Something in me vibrates to a dusky, dreamy smell – a smell of dying moons and shadows.

I’ve spent today in a graveyard.
Why should graves make people feel in vain?
I can’t find anything hopeless in having lived.
All the broken columns and clasped hands and doves and angels mean romances – in a hundred years I shall like having young people speculate on whether my eyes were blue or brown – of course they are neither.

Isn’t it funny how, out of a row of Confederate soldiers, two or three will make you think of dead loves and dead lovers, when they’re exactly like the others, even to the yellowish moss?

Old death is so beautiful, so very beautiful –
We will die together – I know –

Rimbaud

Le dormeur du Val
C’est un trou de verdure, où chante une rivière
Accrochant follement aux herbes des haillons
D’argent; où le soleil, de la montagne fière,
Luit: c’est un petit val qui mousse de rayons.
Un soldat jeune, bouche ouverte, tête nue,
Et la nuque baignant dans le frais cresson bleu,
Dort; il est étendu dans l’herbe, sous la nue,
Pâle dans son lit vert où la lumière pleut.
Les pieds dans les glaïeuls, il dort. Souriant comme
Sourirait un enfant malade, il fait un somme:
Nature, berce-le chaudement: il a froid.
Les parfums ne font pas frissonner sa narine;
Il dort dans le soleil, la main sur sa poitrine,
Tranquille. Il a deux trous rouges au côté droit.

The Sleeper of the Vale
It’s a green hollow where a river sings
Clinging madly to the grasses with its rags
Of silver, where the sun, from the proud mountain,
Shines; it’s a little valley, bubbling with sunlight.
A young soldier, open-mouthed, bare-headed
And the nape of his neck bathing in cool blue watercress,
Sleeps; he’s stretched out in the grass, under the sky,
Pale in his green bed where the light falls like rain.
His feet in the gladiolas, he sleeps. Smiling as
a sick child would smile, he takes a nap.
Nature, cradle him warmly: he is cold.
No perfume makes his nostrils quiver;
He sleeps in the sun, hand on his chest,
Quiet. There are two red holes on his right side.

Two poems of Sara Teasdale
(text rearranged by the composer)

Reverie
(from the poem ‘Primavera Mia’)

As kings, seeing their lives about to pass,
Take off the heavy ermine and the crown,
So had the trees that autumn-time laid down
Their golden garments on the dying grass,
When I, who watched the seasons in the glass
Of my own thoughts, saw all the autumn’s brown
Leap into life and wear a sunny gown
Of leafage fresh as happy April has.
For in my heart,
Your words like winged seeds took root and grew,
I saw the light
And knew my sun and song and spring were you.

 

Lullaby
(from the poem ‘Old Tunes’)

As the waves of perfume, heliotrope,rose,
Float in the garden when no wind blows,
Come to us, go from us, whence no one knows;
So the old tunes float in my mind,
And go from me leaving no trace behind,
Like fragrance borne on the hush of the wind.
but in the instant the airs remain
I know the laughter and the pain
Of times that will not come again.
I try to catch at many a tune
Like petals of light fallen from the moon,
Broken and bright on a dark lagoon.
But they float away–for who can hold
Youth, or perfume or the moon’s gold?

Baudelaire
Translation by Lewis Piaget Shanks, Flowers of Evil (New York: Ives Washburn, 1931)

Le Flambeau vivant
Ils marchent devant moi, ces Yeux pleins de lumières,
Qu’un Ange très savant a sans doute aimantés
Ils marchent, ces divins frères qui sont mes frères,
Secouant dans mes yeux leurs feux diamantés.

Me sauvant de tout piège et de tout péché grave,
Ils conduisent mes pas dans la route du Beau
Ils sont mes serviteurs et je suis leur esclave
Tout mon être obéit à ce vivant flambeau.

Charmants Yeux, vous brillez de la clarté mystique
Qu’ont les cierges brûlant en plein jour; le soleil
Rougit, mais n’éteint pas leur flamme fantastique;

Ils célèbrent la Mort, vous chantez le Réveil
Vous marchez en chantant le réveil de mon âme,
Astres dont nul soleil ne peut flétrir la flamme!

The Living Torch
they march before me, filled with light divine
— those eyes turned magnets by some angel wise;
they lead, my Heavenly Twins, good brothers mine,
whose jewelled fires hold my gazing eyes.

they guard from every sin and error grave,
they show my feet the path to Beauty’s porch;
they are my servitors and I their slave,
wholly obedient to their heavenly torch.

enchanted eyes, ye have the mystic ray
of tapers lit at noon: the fire of day
reddens, but quenches not their eery glow: —

’tis Death they sing, while ye extol the Morn;
ye point the way and chant a soul reborn
— stars that no sun can pale nor overthrow!

Baudelaire
Translation by Lewis Piaget Shanks, Flowers of Evil (New York: Ives Washburn, 1931)

Harmonie du soir
Voici venir les temps où vibrant sur sa tige
Chaque fleur s’évapore ainsi qu’un encensoir;
Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l’air du soir;
Valse mélancolique et langoureux vertige!

Chaque fleur s’évapore ainsi qu’un encensoir;
Le violon frémit comme un coeur qu’on afflige;
Valse mélancolique et langoureux vertige!
Le ciel est triste et beau comme un grand reposoir.

Le violon frémit comme un coeur qu’on afflige,
Un coeur tendre, qui hait le néant vaste et noir!
Le ciel est triste et beau comme un grand reposoir;
Le soleil s’est noyé dans son sang qui se fige.

Un coeur tendre, qui hait le néant vaste et noir,
Du passé lumineux recueille tout vestige!
Le soleil s’est noyé dans son sang qui se fige…
Ton souvenir en moi luit comme un ostensoir!

Evening Harmony
the hours approach when vibrant in the breeze,
a censer swoons to every swaying flower;
blown tunes and scents in turn enchant the bower;
languorous waltz of swirling fancies these!

a censer swoons in every swaying flower;
the quivering violins cry out, decrease;
languorous waltz of swirling fancies these!
mournful and fair the heavenly altars tower.

the quivering violins cry out, decrease;
like hearts of love the Void must overpower!
mournful and fair the heavenly altars tower.
the drowned sun bleeds in fast congealing seas.

a heart of love the Void must overpower
peers for a vanished day’s last vestiges!
the drowned sun bleeds in fast congealing seas…
and like a Host thy flaming memories flower!

Baudelaire
Translation by Cyril Scott, Baudelaire: The Flowers of Evil (London: Elkin Mathews, 1909)

Sonnet d’automne
Ils me disent, tes yeux, clairs comme le cristal:
«Pour toi, bizarre amant, quel est donc mon mérite?»
— Sois charmante et tais-toi! Mon coeur, que tout irrite,
Excepté la candeur de l’antique animal,

Ne veut pas te montrer son secret infernal,
Berceuse dont la main aux longs sommeils m’invite,
Ni sa noire légende avec la flamme écrite.
Je hais la passion et l’esprit me fait mal!

Aimons-nous doucement. L’Amour dans sa guérite,
Ténébreux, embusqué, bande son arc fatal.
Je connais les engins de son vieil arsenal:

Crime, horreur et folie! — Ô pâle marguerite!
Comme moi n’es-tu pas un soleil automnal,
Ô ma si blanche, ô ma si froide Marguerite?

Autumn Song
They ask me — thy crystalline eyes, so acute,
“Odd lover — why am I to thee so dear?”
— Be sweet and keep silent, my heart, which is sear,
For all, save the rude and untutored brute,

Is loth its infernal depths to reveal,
And its dissolute motto engraven with fire,
Oh charmer! whose arms endless slumber inspire!
I abominate passion and wit makes me ill.

So let us love gently. Within his retreat,
Foreboding, Love seeks for his arrows a prey,
I know all the arms of his battle array.

Delirium and loathing — O pale Marguerite!
Like me, art thou not an autumnal ray,
Alas my so white, my so cold Marguerite!

Poetry excerpted from “A Guinevere”, by Madison Cawein

Sullen gold down all the sky;
Roses and their sultry musk;
Whipporwills deep in the dusk
Yonder sob and sigh.–
You are here; and I could weep,
Weep for joy and suffering. . . .
“Where is he”?–He’d have me sing–
There he sits, asleep.
Think not of him! he is dead.

Hold me in your arms again,
Rest on mine your head.

“Am I happy?” ask the fire
When it bursts its bounds and thrills
Some mad hours as it wills
If those hours tire.

See! the moon has risen; white
As this open lily here,
Rocking on the dusty mere,
Like a silent light.

So soon to part!– All too soon!
So; we part, my Launcelot,
My true knight! And am I not
Your true Guinevere?

I must go now.–See! there fell,
Molten into purple light,
One wild star. Kiss me good night,
And once more. Farewell.

Baudelaire
Translation by Cyril Scott, Baudelaire: The Flowers of Evil (London: Elkin Mathews, 1909)

Sisina
Imaginez Diane en galant équipage,
Parcourant les forêts ou battant les halliers,
Cheveux et gorge au vent, s’enivrant de tapage,
Superbe et défiant les meilleurs cavaliers!

Avez-vous vu Théroigne, amante du carnage,
Excitant à l’assaut un peuple sans souliers,
La joue et l’oeil en feu, jouant son personnage,
Et montant, sabre au poing, les royaux escaliers?

Telle la Sisina! Mais la douce guerrière
À l’âme charitable autant que meurtrière;
Son courage, affolé de poudre et de tambours,

Devant les suppliants sait mettre bas les armes,
Et son coeur, ravagé par la flamme, a toujours,
Pour qui s’en montre digne, un réservoir de larmes.

Sisina
Imagine Diana in gorgeous array,
How into the forests and thickets she flies,
With her hair in the breezes, and flushed for the fray,
How the very best riders she proudly defies.

Have you seen Théroigne, of the blood-thirsty heart,
As an unshod herd to attack he bestirs,
With cheeks all inflamed, playing up to his part,
As he goes, sword in hand, up the royal stairs?

And so is Sisina — yet this warrior sweet,
Has a soul with compassion and kindness replete,
Inspired by drums and by powder, her sway

Knows how to concede to the supplicants’ prayers,
And her bosom, laid waste by the flames, has alway,
For those that are worthy, a fountain of tears.

Baudelaire
Translation by Cyril Scott, Baudelaire: The Flowers of Evil (London: Elkin Mathews, 1909)

Parfum exotique
Quand, les deux yeux fermés, en un soir chaud d’automne,
Je respire l’odeur de ton sein chaleureux,
Je vois se dérouler des rivages heureux
Qu’éblouissent les feux d’un soleil monotone;

Une île paresseuse où la nature donne
Des arbres singuliers et des fruits savoureux;
Des hommes dont le corps est mince et vigoureux,
Et des femmes dont l’oeil par sa franchise étonne.

Guidé par ton odeur vers de charmants climats,
Je vois un port rempli de voiles et de mâts
Encor tout fatigués par la vague marine,

Pendant que le parfum des verts tamariniers,
Qui circule dans l’air et m’enfle la narine,
Se mêle dans mon âme au chant des mariniers.

Exotic Perfume
When, with closed eyes, on a hot afternoon,
The scent of thine ardent breast I inhale,
Celestial vistas my spirit assail;
Caressed by the flames of an endless sun.

A langorous island, where Nature abounds
With exotic trees and luscious fruit;
And with men whose bodies are slim and astute,
And with women whose frankness delights and astounds.

By thy perfume enticed to this region remote,
A port I see, laden with mast and with boat,
Still wearied and torn by the distant brine;

While the tamarisk-odours that dreamily throng
The air, round my slumberous senses intwine,
And mix, in my soul, with the mariners’ song.

Baudelaire
Translation by Edna St. Vincent Millay, Flowers of Evil (NY: Harper and Brothers, 1936)

La Prière d’un païen
Ah! ne ralentis pas tes flammes;
Réchauffe mon coeur engourdi,
Volupté, torture des âmes!
Diva! Supplicem exaudî!

Déesse dans l’air répandue,
Flamme dans notre souterrain!
Exauce une âme morfondue,
Qui te consacre un chant d’airain.

Volupté, sois toujours ma reine!
Prends le masque d’une sirène
Faite de chair et de velours,

Ou verse-moi tes sommeils lourds
Dans le vin informe et mystique,
Volupté, fantôme élastique!

The Pagan’s Prayer
Ah, damp not yet the living coals!
Heat once again my heart in thee!
Voluptuousness, thou scourge of souls,
Goddess, incline thine ear to me!

Spirit abroad in the bright air,
Flame in our dark and secret ways,
Freezing I bring thee — grant my prayer! —
A song of brass to bruit thy praise!

Siren, be still my sovereign; keep
Thy kingdom; wear thy mask, whose mesh
Is half of velvet, half of flesh!

Or pour me out thy heavy sleep,
In mystic and amorphous wine:
Phantom elastic and divine.

Baudelaire
Translation by Cyril Scott, Baudelaire: The Flowers of Evil (London: Elkin Mathews, 1909)

La Beauté
Je suis belle, ô mortels! comme un rêve de pierre,
Et mon sein, où chacun s’est meurtri tour à tour,
Est fait pour inspirer au poète un amour
Eternel et muet ainsi que la matière.

Je trône dans l’azur comme un sphinx incompris;
J’unis un coeur de neige à la blancheur des cygnes;
Je hais le mouvement qui déplace les lignes,
Et jamais je ne pleure et jamais je ne ris.

Les poètes, devant mes grandes attitudes,
Que j’ai l’air d’emprunter aux plus fiers monuments,
Consumeront leurs jours en d’austères études;

Car j’ai, pour fasciner ces dociles amants,
De purs miroirs qui font toutes choses plus belles:
Mes yeux, mes larges yeux aux clartés éternelles!

Beauty
I arm lovely, O mortals, like a dream of stone,
And my bosom, where each one gets bruised in turn,
To inspire the love of a poet is prone,
Like matter eternally silent and stern.

As an unfathomed sphinx, enthroned by the Nile,
My heart a swan’s whiteness with granite combines,
And I hate every movement, displacing the lines,
And never I weep and never I smile.

The poets in front of mine attitudes fine
(Which the proudest of monuments seem to implant),
To studies profound all their moments assign,

For I have all these docile swains to enchant —
Two mirrors, which Beauty in all things ignite:
Mine eyes, my large eyes, of eternal Light!

Excerpted from Hamlet, Act IV Scene V, of William Shakespeare

How can I your true-love know
From another one?
By his cockle hat and staff,
And his sandal shoon.

He is dead and gone, lady.
White his shroud as the mountain snow,
Larded with sweet flowers;
Which bewept to the grave did not go
With true-love showers.

To-morrow is Saint Valentine’s Day,
And all the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.

Then up he rose, and donn’d his clothes,
And dupt the chamber door;
Let in the maid, that out a maid
Never departed more.

By Gis and by Saint Charity,
Alack, and fie for shame!
Young men will do it, if they come to it;
By cock, they are to blame.

For bonny sweet Robin is all of my joy,
And will he not come again?
And will he not come again?
He will never come again.

His beard was white as snow,
All flaxen was his poll:
He is gone, he is gone,
And we cast away moan:
Gramercy on his soul!

I. A Nymph’s Passion
Ben Johnson

I love, and he loves me again,
Yet dare I not tell who;
For if the nymphs should know my swain,
I fear they’d love him too;
Yet if he be not known,
The pleasure is as good as none,
For that’s a narrow joy is but our own.

I’ll tell, that if they be not glad,
They may not envy me;
But then if I grow jealous mad
And of them pitied be,
It were a plague ’bove scorn;
And yet it cannot be forborne
Unless my heart would, as my thought, be torn.

 

II. The Message
John Donne

SEND home my long stray’d eyes to me,
Which, O ! too long have dwelt on thee ;
Yet since there they have learn’d such ill,
Such forced fashions,
And false passions,
That they be
Made by thee
Fit for no good sight, keep them still.

Send home my harmless heart again,
Which no unworthy thought could stain ;
Which if it be taught by thine
To make jestings
Of protestings,
And break both
Word and oath,
Keep it, for then ’tis none of mine.

Yet send me back my heart and eyes,
That I may know, and see thy lies,
And may laugh and joy, when thou
Art in anguish
And dost languish
For some one
That will none,
Or prove as false as thou art now.

 

III. To Music, to Becalm his Fever
Robert Herrick

Charm me asleep, and melt me so
With thy delicious numbers,
That, being ravish’d, hence I go
Away in easy slumbers.

Ease my sick head,
And make my bed,
Thou power that canst sever
From me this ill,
And quickly still,
Though thou not kill
My fever.

Thou sweetly canst convert the same
From a consuming fire
Into a gentle licking flame,
And make it thus expire.
Then make me weep
My pains asleep;
And give me such reposes
That I, poor I,
May think thereby
I live and die
‘Mongst roses.

Fall on me like the silent dew,
Or like those maiden showers
Which, by the peep of day, do strew
A baptim o’er the flowers.
Melt, melt my pains
With thy soft strains;
That, having ease me given,
With full delight
I leave this light,
And take my flight
For Heaven.

 

IV.Dawn
John Ford

Fly hence, shadows, that do keep
Watchful sorrows charmed in sleep!

Tho’ the eyes be overtaken,
Yet the heart doth ever waken,
Thoughts chained up in busy snares
Of continual woes and cares:
Love and griefs are so exprest
As they rather sigh than rest.

Fly hence, shadows, that do keep
Watchful sorrows charmed in sleep!

 

V. Karolin’s Song
Ben Johnson

Though I am young, and cannot tell,
Either what love, or death is well,
Yet I have heard, yet both bear darts,
And both do aim at human hearts:
And then again, I have been told
Love wounds with heat, as death with cold;
So that I fear, they do but bring
Extremes to touch, and mean one thing.

As in a ruin, we it call
One thing to be blown up, or fall;
Or to our end, like way may have,
By a flash of lightning, or a wave:
So love’s inflamed shaft, or brand,
May kill as soon as death’s cold hand;
Except love’s fires the virtue have
To fright the frost from out the grave.

Survival
Edith Wharton

When you and I, like all things kind or cruel,
The garnered days and light evasive hours,
Are gone again to be a part of flowers
And tears and tides, in life’s divine renewal,

If some grey eve to certain eyes should wear
A deeper radiance than mere light can give,
Some silent page abruptly flush and live,
May it not be that you and I are there?

 

Patience
Edith Wharton

Patience and I have traveled hand in hand
So many days that I have grown to trace
The lines of sad, sweet beauty in her face,
And all its veiled depths to understand.

Not beautiful is she to eyes profane;
Silent and unrevealed her holy charms;
But, like a mother’s, her serene, strong arms
Uphold my footsteps on the path of pain.

O my Beloved, life’s golden visions fade,
And one by one life’s phantom joys depart;
They leave a sudden darkness in my heart,
And patience fills their empty place instead.

C. S. Lewis
(abbreviated and rearranged by the composer)

I. Prologue

As of old Phoenician men, to the Tin Isles sailing
Straight against the sunset and the edges of the earth,
Chaunted loud above the storm and the strange sea’s wailing,
So in mighty deeps alone on the chainless breezes blown
In my coracle of verses I will sing of lands unknown,
Flying from the scarlet city where a Lord that knows no pity,
Mocks the broken people praying round his iron throne,
Sing about the Hidden Country fresh and full of quiet green.
Sailing over seas uncharted to a port that none has seen.

 

II. Satan Speaks

I am Nature, the Mighty Mother,
I am the law: ye have none other.
I am the flower and the dewdrop fresh,
I am the battle’s filth and strain,
I am the widow’s empty pain.
I am the sea to smother your breath,
I am the bomb, the falling death.
I am the fact and the crushing reason
To thwart your fantasy’s new-born treason.
I am the spider making her net,
I am the beast with jaws blood-wet.
I am a wolf that follows the sun
And I will catch him ere day be done.

 

III. Victory

Roland is dead, Cuchulain’s crest is low,
The battered war-rear wastes and turns to rust,
And Helen’s eyes and Iseult’s lips are dust
And dust the shoulders and the breasts of snow.

The faerie people from our woods are gone,
No Dryads have I found in all our trees,
No Triton blows his horn about our seas
And Arthur sleeps far hence in Avalon.

Now in the filth of war, the baresark shout
Of battle, it is vexed. And yet so oft
Out of the deeps, of old, it rose aloft
That they who watch the ages may not doubt.

Though often bruised, oft broken by the rod,
Yet, like the phoenix, from each fiery bed
Higher the stricken spirit lifts its head
And higher-till the beast become a god.

 

IV. Night

I know a little Druid wood
Where I would slumber if I could
For there the white owls all night long
In the scented gloom divine
Hear the wild, strange, tuneless song
Of faerie voices,
Dancing, dancing, under the moon,
Until, amid the pale of dawn
The wandering stars begin to swoon. . . .
Ah, leave the world and come away!

 

V. Alexandrines

There is a house that most of all on earth I hate.
Though I have passed through many sorrows and have been
In bloody fields, sad seas, and countries desolate,
Like eyes of one long dead the empty windows stare
And I fear to cross the garden, I fear to linger there,
For in that house I know a little, silent room
Where Someone’s always waiting, waiting in the gloom
To draw me with an evil eye, and hold me fast–
Yet thither doom will drive me and He will win at last.

 

VI. Spooks

Last night I dreamed that I was come again
Unto the house where my beloved dwells
After long years of wandering and pain.

And I stood out beneath the drenching rain
And all the street was bare, and black with night,
But in my true love’s house was warmth and light.

Yet I could not draw near nor enter in,
And long I wondered if some secret sin
Or old, unhappy anger held me fast;

Till suddenly it came into my head
That I was killed long since and lying dead–
Only a homeless wraith that way had passed.

So thus I found my true love’s house again
And stood unseen amid the winter night
And the lamp burned within, a rosy light,
And the wet street was shining in the rain.

 

VII. World’s Desire

Love, there is a castle built in a country desolate,
On a rock above a forest where the trees are grim and great,
Nothing is can trouble it,
And it shall be a resting-place, dear heart, for you and me.

Through the wet and waving forest with an age-old sorrow laden
Singing of the world’s regret wanders wild the faerie maiden,
Often to the castle gate up she looks with vain endeavour,
For her soulless loveliness to the castle winneth never.

But within the sacred court, hidden high upon the mountain,
Wandering in the castle gardens lovely folk enough there be,
Breathing in another air, drinking of a purer fountain
And among that folk, beloved, there’s a place for you and me.