Feb 242016
 

Four Songs from “Wild Earth”

Premiered September 25, 2015
Dr. Wendy Moy, Soprano
Patricia Harper, Alto Flute

[Recording coming soon!]

Program notes:

Four Songs from ‘Wild Earth was composed in a flurry for a 24-hour composition event at the University of North Carolina—Greensboro. I chose four texts by the Irish poet and playwright Padraic Colum (1888–1972), from his 1916 collection Wild Earth and Other Poems. My settings, like Colum’s poems, mirror and adapt the cadences of ancient Irish sean-nós songs, including the lovely traditional melody “She Moved Through the Fair”, to tell many tales of finding and losing love. The uncommon pairing of soprano voice with alto flute creates a lively counterpoint between music and words.

Texts:

Across the Door

The fiddles were playing and playing,
The couples were out on the floor;
From converse and dancing he drew me,
And across the door.

Ah! strange were the dim, wide meadows,
And strange was the cloud-strewn sky,
And strange in the meadows the corncrakes,
And they making cry!

The hawthorn bloom was by us.
Around us the breath of the south.
White hawthorn, strange in the night-time—
His kiss on my mouth!

 

She Moved Through The Fair

My young love said to me, “My brothers won’t mind,
And my parents won’t slight you for your lack of kind.”
Then she stepped away from me, and this she did say,
“It will not be long, love, till our wedding day.”

She stepped away from me and she moved through the fair.
And fondly I watched her go here and go there.
Then she went her way homeward with one star awake,
As the swan in the evening moves over the lake.

The people were saying no two were e’er wed
But one had a sorrow that never was said.
And I smiled as she passed with her goods and her gear,
And that was the last that I saw of my dear.

I dreamt it last night that my young love came in,
So softly she entered, her feet made no din;
She came close beside me, and this she did say,
“It will not be long, love, till our wedding day.”

The Beggar’s Child

Mavourneen, we’ll go far away
From the net of the crooked town,
Where they grudge us the light of the day.

Around my neck you will lay
Two tight little arms of brown.
Mavoumeen, we’ll go far away
From the net of the crooked town.

And what will we hear on the way?
The stir of wings up and down, says she.
In nests where the little birds stay!

Mavoumeen, we’ll go far away
From the net of the crooked town.
Where they grudge us the light of the day.

Carricknabauna (An Old Woman Sings)

There was an oul’ trooper went riding by
On the road to Carricknabauna,
And sorrow is better to sing than cry
On the way to Carricknabauna!
And as the oul’ trooper went riding on
He heard this sung by a crone, a crone
On the road to Carricknabauna!

“I’d spread my cloak for you, young lad,
Were it only the breadth of a farthen’,
And if your mind was as good as your word
In troth, it’s you I’d rather!
In dread of any jealousy.
And before we go any farther.
Carry me up to the top of the hill
And show me Carricknabauna!”

“Carricknabauna, Carricknabauna,
Would you show me Carricknabauna?
I lost a horse at Cruckmoylinn —
At the Cross of Bunratty I dropped a limb —
But I left my youth on the crown of the hill
Over by Carricknabauna!”

Girls, young girls, the rush-light is done
What will I do till my thread is spun?

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