S’il est vrai, Chloris, que tu m’aimes,
Mais j’entends, que tu m’aimes bien,
Je ne crois point que les rois mêmes Aient un bonheur pareil au mien.
Que la mort serait importune
De venir changer ma fortune
pour la félicité des cieux!
Tout ce qu’on dit de l’ambroisie
Ne touche point ma fantaisie
Au prix des grâces de tes yeux.
Théophile de Viau (1590-1626)
If it’s true, Chloris, that you love me,
(and I’m told that you love me truly),
I cannot believe that kings themselves
ever had happiness equal to mine.
How unwelcome death would be
f it replaced my good luck
with the mere bliss of heaven!
All that is said about ambrosia
utterly fails in comparison
to the favor of your glance.
Quand je fus pris au pavillon
Quand je fus pris au pavillon
De ma dame, très gente et belle,
Je me brûlai à la chandelle<
>Ainsi que fait le papillon.
Je rougis comme vermillon,
A la clarté d’une étincelle,
Quand je fus pris au pavillon.
Si j’eusse été esmerillon
Ou que j’eusse eu aussi bonne aile,
Je me fusse gardé de celle
Qui me bailla de l’aiguillon
Quand je fus pris au pavillon.
Duc Charles d’Orleans (1394-1465)
When I was caught in a pavillion
When I was caught in a pavilion
by my lady, so gentle and lovely,
I was burned by the candle,
like a moth in a flame.
I blushed a fiery red
at the gleam of the brilliant light
when I was caught in the pavilion.
If only I had been a young falcon,
Or had wings to fly away,
I would have saved myself
from the one who stung me,
when I was caught in a pavilion.
Translations are by Rosa Lamoreaux and Jean Max Guieu, retired professor of French literature at GWU
Thou are the soul of a summer’s day, thou art the breath of the rose.
But summer is fled, the rose is dead.
Where are they gone? Who knows?
Thou are the blood of my heart of hearts.
Thou art my soul’s repose.
But my hear’s grown numb, and my soul is dumb.
Where are thou, love? Who knows?
Thou art the hope of my after years,
Sun of my winter snows.
But years go by neath clouded sky.
Where shall we meet? Who knows?
Paul Laurence Dunbar
You consider love a leisure cruise, and lovers foreign ports.
You stay at a haven only when the harbor is still entertaining
then you will depart to seek new excitement
leaving behind a trail of deserted places where sorrow never ends.
Huynh Quang Nhoung
I’ll Not Forget
In a single file my brain has set a list of things I’ll not forget;
A sudden rain on roof or barn, the greyness on a bark of Beech.
Some cowbells heard through morning fog;
the barking of a country dog that knows no fright
and yet must talk back to the night.
I’ll not forget the woodsmoke small of pine,
or the cowbarn when the hay was new.
I’ll not forget the thrill of love, or You!
When Frost Moves Fast
When frost moves fast and gardens lose their ground
and gold goes downward in the trees
no sound accompanies departures of the leaves,
except when the wind hurtles into air
dead shapes the coming winter will inter;
then the thinnest music starts to stir
a faint crisp scraping in the startled ear
the leaves that feed the new leaves of next year.
As Birds Come Nearer
As birds come nearer for a crust of bread<
across the frozen snow
by hunger led to stamp fine footprints on a scroll of white.
So winter is a world where appetite grows bolder by necessity,
where the fox betrays his fable,
and the cold unlocks stiff beggars from the doorways.
Time grow old in the knuckles of an old man blue with cold.
The Racing Waterfall
The racing waterfall that slowed in fall
has thinned to a trickle or an icicle
and stands as quiet as the rocks it willed to move.
As though expecting it to fall,
a listener stand upon a rim of silence,
seeing a changed world prepared to change,
the waterfall silent on its breakneck shelf
and silence a spectacle in itself.
A Child Lay Down
A child lay down in his imagined grave
to see the form he’d make engraved in snow
but even that feigned hollow filled with snow;
and rising on a landscape blurred a bit
by shadows of an adumbrated blue,
he came upon two worlds he had no known:
one was his being, one his mind let go<
until the light would take the blue from snow.
Who Reads By Starlight
Who reads by starlight knows what fire is the end of words,
and how its mysteries go running in the flame to quick to see,
as language has a light too bright to be mere fact or fiction.
By ambiguity we make of flame a word that flame can burn,
and of love a stillness though the world can turn on its moment
and be still. Or turn and turn.
And What of Love
And what of love that old men dead and gone have wintered through,
and written messages in snow so travelers, who come too warm,
to what may grow too cold, be safe from harm?
They know the fire of flesh is winter’s cheat
and how the icy wind makes young blood sweet in joining joy,
which age can never have.
And that is what all old men know of love.
O wie schön ist deine Welt, Vater,
Wenn sie golden strahlet!
Wenn dein Glanz herniederfällt
Und den Staub mit Schimmer malet,
Wenn das Rot, das in der Wolke blinkt,
In mein stilles Fenster sinkt!
Könnt ich klagen, könnt ich zagen?
Irre sein an dir und mir?
Nein, ich will im Busen tragen
Deinen Himmel schon allhier.
Und dies Herz, eh’ es zusammenbricht,
Trinkt noch Glut
Und schlürft noch Licht
In the Glow of Evening
O how beautiful is your world, Father,
When it shines with golden beams!
When your radiance descends
And tints the dust with a shimmer;<
When a rosy gleam drenches the clouds,
And falls upon my quiet window.
Could I complain, could I be afraid?
Or be perplexed between you and me?
No, I will carry in my heart
The heaven which is already there
And my heart, before it breaks forever,
Will drink more glow<
And quaff more light.
Draussen in der weiten Nacht
Steh ich wieder nun,
Ihre helle Sternenpracht
Lässt mein Herz nicht ruhn!
Tausend Arme winken mir
Süss begehrend zu,
Tausend Stimmen rufen hier,
“Grussdich, Trauter, du!”
O ich weiss auch, was mich zieht,
Weiss auch, was mich ruft,
Was wie Freundes Gruss
locket durch die Luft.
Siehst du dort das Hüttchen stehn,
Drauf der Mondschein ruht?
Durch die blanken Scheiben,
Sehn Augen die mir gut!
Siehst du dort das Haus am Bach,
Das der Mond bescheint?
Unter seinem trauten Dach schläft mein
Siehst du jenen Baum
Der voll Silberflocken flimmt?
O wie oft mein Busen schwoll
Froher dort gestimmt!
Jedes Plätzchen, das mir winkt
Ist ein lieber Platz,
Und wohin ein Strahl nur sinkt,
Lockt ein theurer Schatz.
Drum auch winkt mir’s überall so
Drum auch ruft es,
Wie der Schall trauter Liebe mir.
Johann Gabriel Seidl
In the Open
Now once more I stand
outside in the vast night;
its bright, starry splendor
gives my heart no peace.
A thousand arms beckon to me
with sweet longing
a thousand voices call:`Greetings, dear friend!’
Oh, I know what draws me,
what calls me,
Like a friend’s greeting,
a song floating enticingly through the air.
Do you see the cottage there
on which the moonlight lingers?
From its shining windows
fond eyes gaze out.
Do you see the house there by the brook,
lit by the moon?
Beneath its cozy roof sleeps my
Do you see that tree,
glittering with silver flakes?
Oh, how often did my heart
swell with joy there!
Every little place that beckons
is dear to me
and wherever a moonbeam falls,
Cherished treasure entices.
So everything here beckons to me
and calls to me with the
sounds of true love.
Uber meines Liebchens Äugeln
tehn verwundert alle Leute;
ch, der Wissende, dagegen,
Weiss recht gut, was das bedeute.
Denn is heisst: ich liebe diesen,
Und nicht etwa den und jenen.
asset nur, ihr guten Leute,
uer Wundern, euer Sehnen!
a, mit ungeheuren Mächten
Blicket sie wohl in die Runde;
och sie sucht nur zu verkünden
hm die nächste süsse Stunde.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Everyone is astonished
At the eyes my sweetheart makes;
But I, who understand,
Know very well what they mean.
For they are saying: he is the one I love,
Not this one or that one.
So, good people,
Cease your wondering and your longing!
Indeed, she may well look about her
With a mightily powerful eye,
But she seeks only to give him a foretaste
Of the next sweet hour.
Der Wanderer an den Mond
Ich auf der Erd am Himmel du,
Wir wandern beide rüstig zu;
Ich ernst und trüb, du mild und rein,
Was mag der Unterschied wohl sein?
Ich wandre fremd von Land zu Land,
So heimatlos, so unbekannt;
Berg auf, Berg ab, Wald ein, Wald aus,
Doch bin ich nirgend, ach! zu Haus.
Du aber wanderst auf und ab
Aus Westens Wieg’ in Ostens Grab,<
Wallst Länder ein und Länder aus,
Und bist doch, wo du bist, zu Haus.
Der Himmel endlos ausgespannt,<
Ist dein geliebtes Heimatland;
O glücklich, wer, wohin er geht,
Doch auf der Heimat Boden steht!
The Traveler addresses the Moon
I on earth and you in heaven,
both of us travel steadily on.
I solemn and sad, you calm and clear;
What can the difference be?
I go a stranger from land to land,
Homeless and unknown:
Up and down hill, in and out of the wo
But I am nowhere, alas, at home.
But you travel up and down,
From western cradle to eastern grave,
You roam from country to country,
And yet are at home, wherever you be.
The infinite expanse of heaven
Is your beloved homeland.
O happy he, who, wherever he goes,
Still treads his native soil
“The Parisian Salon“, illustrated by painter Madeleine Lemaire with Reynaldo Hahn at the piano.
A prolific composer, Reynaldo Hahn is little known in the United States. In addition to composing over one hundred songs employing the harmonic and rhythmic structure of the time of the poets, Hahn wrote numerous operas and operettas, ballets and instrumental music. He was a revered conductor, singer, prolific writer and music critic.
The two songs we present of Reynaldo Hahn are settings of early poets, Théophile De Viau from the early 16th century in the lovely text of A Chloris, and the revered poet of the 15th century, Charles d’Orleans, poem of love’s sting, Quand je fus pris au pavillon – “When I was lured to a love nest”. Hahn has set both songs in neobaroque dance styles with A Chloris employing an ostinato bass reminiscent of the Air from Bach’s Third Orchestral Suite. The piano part is a complete piece on its own with the vocal melody embroidering in and out of the piano harmonies. In Quand je fus pris au pavillon one hears a dance rhythm similar to a Rigaudon in this lively song playfully expressing love’s sting.
Théophile De Viau, in his short life, had many struggles, first being banished as a Huguenot, moving briefly to England. Upon his return to France he published a book of poems seen as licentious by the Jesuits who accused him of being bisexual condemning de Viau to death by hanging. After many petitions in his favor he was spared and allowed the protection of the Duke of Montmorency before dying at the age of 36. Hahn has set A Chloris in a neobaroque style employing an ostinato bass reminiscent of the Air on a G string from Bach’s Third Orchestral Suite.
Three American Songs
Julius P. Williams (b. 1954) is an award-winning conductor, composer, recording artist, educator, author and artistic director. Maestro Williams conducted the inaugural concerts of Symphony Saint Paulia at New York’s Carnegie Hall. He has conducted orchestras in Dallas, New Haven, Savannah, Hartford, Sacramento, Tulsa, Knoxville, Oklahoma, Vermont, Norwalk, Vermont Philharmonic, Wooster, Akron, Connecticut Opera, and Washington Symphony Orchestra (DC.). He has served as Assistant Conductor to Maestro Lucas Foss at The Brooklyn Philharmonic and The American Symphony. In Europe, Maestro Williams has performed and recorded with The Prague Radio, Dvorak, Volvodanksa (Serbia), Dubrovnik (Croatia), Brno Philharmonic, Bohuslav-Martinu Philharmonic symphonies. A prolific composer, Williams has created dozens of works for virtually every genre of contemporary classical performance, including opera, ballet, orchestra, chamber ensemble, chorus and solo voice, dance, musical theatre and film.
Poet, Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906) was born to two formerly enslaved people from Kentucky. He became one of the first influential Black poets in American literature, and was internationally acclaimed for his dialectic verse in collections such as Majors and Minors (1895) and Lyrics of Lowly Life (1896). But the dialectic poems constitute only a small portion of Dunbar’s canon, which is replete with novels, short stories, essays, and many poems in standard English. In its entirety, Dunbar’s literary body is regarded as an impressive representation of Black life in turn-of-the-century America.
Charles Samuel Brown (b. 1940), composer, bass/baritone, has combined a busy teaching career with solo and professional choral singing. He sang the role of King Balthazar in the Polish premiere of Gian Carlo Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors (1980) in Warsaw, and he was a member of the highly acclaimed chorus of the first production of Porgy and Bess (1984) at the Metropolitan Opera. For two seasons he was a back-up vocalist for Ray Charles in Fool For You, a dance suite choreographed by Peter Martin for the New York City Ballet, and for Cab Calloway’s eightieth birthday celebration at Carnegie Hall. In addition to many opera roles, he has sung back-up vocals with Quincy Jones, and with the digital image of Elvis Presley at Radio City Music Hall. He has taught at Lincoln University of Missouri, the Borough of Manhattan Community College and in the New York City Public Schools.
Poet, Huynh Quanh Nhuong (1946-2001) earned his degree in chemistry from Saigon University in 1962. After the outbreak of the Vietnam War, Huynh was drafted into the South Vietnamese army, where he reached the rank of first lieutenant, and received a gold and a silver medal. Huynh was shot and paralyzed during the war, resulting in his trip to the United States in 1963 for physical therapy. Huynh stayed in the United States, and earned an M.A. in Comparative Literature in 1971 from Long Island University, and in 1973 he earned an M.A. in French from the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri. His writing career began when his book The Land I Lost was published in 1982. The book received the ALA Notable Children’s Book award, the ALA Booklist Editors’ Choice award, the Notable Children’s Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies, the Library of Congress Children’s Books award, the William Allen White Children’s Book Award, the Friends of American Writers Award, and the Blue Cobra Award. He is credited as the first Vietnamese to write fiction and non-fiction in English.
Composer, Jeraldine S. Herbison (b. 1941) was born in Richmond, Virginia. She received her B.S. from Virginia State College in 1963. She also studied at the University of Michigan at Interlochen, where she was awarded full scholarships in 1973 and 1979. Her composition teachers included Tom Clark, George Wilson, Undine Moore. She is a retired teacher of orchestral music in the secondary schools of Virginia and Maryland. A violinist, she has performed with several college and community orchestras. Her compositions include many instrumental chamber works, orchestra pieces, and vocal works. Several of her cello works have been performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D. C. Her Cello Concerto No. 1 was commissioned and performed by the Afro-American Chamber Music Society. “Saltarello” is from Five Short Pieces for Cello and Piano, Op. 30.
Poet, Max Ellison (1914-1985) sometimes called the unofficial poet laureate of northern Michigan, had recited poetry at more than a thousand schools and 36 universities in 26 states, but most often in Michigan, Virginia, Kentucky and Vermont. When he knew his death was near, Ellison wrote an announcement to be sent to the hundreds of schools where he’d read verse over the past 30 years. To be mailed at his death, it said:
Max Ellison has canceled
All speaking engagements.
His Creator called his bluff.
He had a pair of deuces to a full house.
Born in Antrim County, Ellison published, among others, ″The Underbark,″ ″The Happenstance,″ ″Double Take,″ ″The Hat Poems″ and ″The Blue Bird is Blue.″
His trademarks were his full, white beard, Amish hat, denim jacket and deep, rich voice.
A Winter Come
Morten Johannes Lauridsen (born February 27, 1943) is an American composer. A National Medal of Arts recipient (2007), he was composer-in-residence of the Los Angeles Master Chorale (1994–2001) and has been a professor of composition at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music for more than 40 years. A native of the Pacific Northwest, Lauridsen worked as a Forest Service firefighter and lookout (on an isolated tower near Mt. St. Helens) and attended Whitman College before traveling south to study composition at the University of Southern California with Ingolf Dahl, Halsey Stevens, Robert Linn, and Harold Owen. He began teaching at USC in 1967 and has been on their faculty ever since.
In 2006, Lauridsen was named an ‘American Choral Master’ by the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2007 he received the National Medal of Arts from the President in a White House ceremony, “for his composition of radiant choral works combining musical beauty, power and spiritual depth that have thrilled audiences worldwide.”
A recipient of numerous grants, prizes, and commissions, Lauridsen chaired the Composition department at the USC Thornton School of Music from 1990–2002 and founded the School’s Advanced Studies program in Film Scoring. He has held residencies as guest composer/lecturer at over seventy universities and has received honorary doctorates from Whitman College, Oklahoma State University, Westminster Choir College and King’s College, University of Aberdeen, Scotland. Lauridsen now divides his time between Los Angeles and his summer residence on a remote island off the northern coast of Washington State.
The first film made about Lauridsen won four Best Documentary awards since opening the American Documentary Film Festival on February 7, 2012 in Palm Springs, California. Shining Night: A Portrait of Composer Morten Lauridsen, was named ‘a heartening rarity’ by Terry Teachout of the Wall Street Journal. Directed by Michael Stillwater and co-produced with Doris Laesser Stillwater for Song Without Borders, Shining Night provides audiences worldwide with a rare glimpse into the inner world of the composer.
Howard Moss (1922-1987) was the poetry editor of the New Yorker for almost forty years. In that influential capacity, this quiet, unassuming man was one of the key figures in American letters in the late twentieth century, boosting the careers of many young poets by publishing their work in one of the few mass circulation magazines which bought poetry and paid well for it. Moss produced fourteen books of poetry which won wide praise from critics for their quiet, structured power. One critic claimed that Moss had a “divine knack [for] arranging perfectly observed facts in a truthful way, a way that corresponds to the structure of our emotions, to their natural curvature.” Moss began his career at the New Yorker after a brief stint as a reviewer for Time and a teacher at Vassar College. At first a fiction editor for the magazine, Moss became poetry editor in 1950 after convincing New Yorker editor Harold Ross to let him try the job. It was a position he would hold for the rest of his life. A Winter Come, a Summer Gone: Poems, 1946-1960 combines verse culled from Moss’s first three volumes with fourteen new poems. Much of the poetry deals with the theme of love in its various forms. The six poems chosen by Lauridsen for his setting of A Winter Come explore the observations and mysteries of winter whether tangible or intangible.
The poets Schubert chose to set were a mix of close friends, colleagues and revered poets.
These four songs are settings of poems speaking of the beauty of a sunset, coloring the window sill of a simple room,: a scene of a beloved village rich with memories of loved ones in beloved places: a secret, young crush; the imagination that the moon is blissfully at home wherever it travels, while we on earth struggle with loneliness and isolation in constant search of a homeland.