Caliban's Song

Music and Texts of  GARY BACHLUND

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Caliban's Song  - (1989)   

 William Shakespeare

from "The Tempest"
for bass-baritone and piano


Caliban:             All the infections that the sun sucks up
                            from bogs, fens, flats, on Prosper' fall,
                            and make him by inchmeal a disease.
                            His spirits hear me, and yet I needs must curse,
                            but they'll nor pinch!
                            Fright me with urchin shows,
                            pitch me in the mire,
                            nor lead me, like a firebrand in the dark
                            out of my way unless he bid 'em.
                            But for every trifle are they set upon me;
                            sometimes like apes!
                            Then like hedgehogs!
                            Sometime am I all wound with adders
                            who do hiss me into madness.
                            All the infections that the sun sucks up
                            from bogs, fens, flats, on Prosper' fall,
                            Lo, now lo!
                            Here comes a spirit of his.
                            I'll fall flat!
                            Perchance he'll not mind me.

[ 2 pages, circa 2' 00" ]



  The wonderful character of Caliban is replete with a poetic resentment and repressed anger which can be aptly portrayed. with rubati and portamenti recommended to flesh out the vocal line and make him all the more sinister. Victim and potential victimizer, the character is fascinating. The text is set for bass-baritone, with high Fs to rage above the accompaniment, as well cadential low Fs to give gravity to the characterization.



The bridge of this song-form aria rises to the highest tessitura, as dramatic shifts in range and dynamic fill out a portrait of this fearful "monster," utterly cowed by Ariel and his sprites. One must have some pity for that which besets him. surely.




The score is available as a free PDF download, though any major commercial performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior arrangement with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this piano-vocal score.


Caliban's Song