Music by Eric Pazdziora, 2016
Text by G. K. Chesterton, from Poems, 1916.
Premiered September 9, 2016 at the University of Maryland, College Park, NextNOW Fest / TEMPO New Music
Vivian Wang, soprano
Sarah Best, mezzo-soprano
Jonathan Clancy, percussion
“A Child of the Snows” was written by G. K. Chesterton, included in his 1916 anthology Poems. Some biographers have speculated that the text was intended to supply the unspecified lyrics for a moment in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol where Tim Cratchit sings “a song about a lost child traveling in the snow.”
There is heard a hymn when the panes are dim,
And never before or again,
When the nights are strong with a darkness long,
And the dark is alive with rain.
Never we know but in sleet and in snow,
The place where the great fires are,
That the midst of the earth is a raging mirth
And the heart of the earth a star.
And at night we win to the ancient inn
Where the child in the frost is furled,
We follow the feet where all souls meet
At the inn at the end of the world.
The gods lie dead where the leaves lie red,—G. K. Chesterton (1834–1936) from Poems, 1916
For the flame of the sun is flown,
The gods lie cold where the leaves lie gold,
And a child comes forth alone.