Mar 022014
 

Program notes:

THREE SCOTTISH GAELIC SONGS was commissioned by Ainsley Patterson and Charlie Rasmussen for the event “Unprepared Music” in 2012, and had its concert premiere at the UNC-Greensboro New Music Festival (2013) with Ainsley Patterson and Roman Placzek. The cycle is composed for mezzo-soprano and cello, setting Scottish Gaelic folk texts to new melodies. “Gheibh sinn Ribinnean” is a children’s song about dancing with ribbons, “Thàladh” is a lullaby for a lost child, and “Sùilean dubha” looks forward to a visit from a dark-eyed lover. My setting blends traditional modes with contrasting polyrhythms for an original take on the modern folk tradition.

The video recording here is a splendid performance taken from Dr. Roman Placzek’s DMA cello recital, with Ainsley reprising her lovely vocal rendition.

 

Texts and translations:

Gheibh sinn ribinnean 

Gheibh sinn ribinnean mòra mòra 
Gheibh sinn ribinnean mòra dearga. 
Gheibh sinn ribinnean mòra mòra 
Nuair thig Eòghainn far a’ mhargaidh. 

Dannsa leis a’ ghùn ùr ùr 
Dannsa leis a’ ghùn ùr am bliadhna. 
Dannsa leis a’ ghùn ùr ùr 
Orra chùlaibh ‘s orra bheu-laibh. 
  
Air a dhùnadh orra chùlaibh
Air a dhùnadh orra bheulaibh. 
Air a dhùnadh orra chùlaibh
Dannsa leis a’ ghùn ùr a nighean.

Ribinnean mòra mòra mòra,
Ribinnean mòra mòrad earga. 
Ribinnean mòra mòra mòra,
Nuair thig Eòghainn far a’ mhargaidh. 

Thàladh

Nam bu leam fhìn thu
thàlaidhean thu 
Nam bu leam fhìn thu
thàlaidhean thu 

Nam bu leam fhìn dhèanainn
do bhrìodal 

Is nam bu leam fhìn thu
thàlaidhean thu.   

Thàlaidhinn thu
‘s gun tàlaidhinn thu 
Thàlaidhinn thu
‘s gun tàlaidhinn thu 

Dèan cadal mo leanabh
‘s mo ghaol agad cheana 
A chagair mo chridhe
gun tàlaidhinn thu.  

Sùilean dubha

Sùilean dubha dubha dubh
Sùilean dubh aig m’ eudail 
Sùilean dubha dubha dubh 
Cuin a thig thu chèilidh? 
  
Cha tèid mise mach a-nochd 
Cha tèid mise chèilidh 
Cha tèid mise mach a-nochd 
‘s dùil agam ri m’ eudail. 
  
Cnocan beag a-miugh an sin 
Cèol is binne teudan 
Cnocan beag a-miugh an sin 
Cò bhios ann ach m’ eudail.

 
 

We Will Get Ribbons

We’re all going to get some bright red ribbons,
We’re all going to get some bright red ribbons,
We’re all going to get some bright red ribbons,
When Ewan comes back from town.

We’ll dance in our new dresses this year,
We’ll dance in our new dresses this year,
We’ll dance in our new dresses this year,
With ribbons tied all around.

Tie them on the front, and tie them on the back,
Tie them in a bow, and tie them round a sack.
Tie ribbons all over our dresses this year,
And we all dance round!

We’re all going to get some bright red ribbons,
We’re all going to get some bright red ribbons,
We’re all going to get some bright red ribbons,
When Ewan comes back from town.

Lullaby

If you were my baby,
I’d cradle you near
I’d kiss you and snuggle you
safely, my dear,
If you were my baby,
you’d not lie alone,
I’d hold you so gently
if you were my own.

If you’ll be my little one,
I’ll keep you tight,
And cradle you safely
away from the night,
If you’ll be my little one,
I’ll soothe your cries,
I already love you,
and I’ll close your eyes.

Dark Eyes

My true love’s eyes are bright and dark,
Bright and dark, bright and dark,
My true love’s eyes are bright and dark,
But will he come calling this evening?

I won’t be going out tonight,
I won’t go out, I won’t go out,
I won’t be going out tonight,
Because he might come calling.

Who’s singing on the cold hill’s side?
Singing low and singing high?
Who’s singing at my window side?
Who but my sweetheart, come calling?

(Translations by John Patrick Pazdziora, 2013)

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For information about the score, performing, or commissioning, please contact the composer.