To Music - (2012)
for medium or high voice and piano
Music, thou queen of heaven, care-charming spell,
That strik'st a stillness into hell;
Thou that tam'st tigers, and fierce storms, that rise,
With thy soul-melting lullabies;
Fall down, down, down, from those thy chiming spheres
To charm our souls, as thou enchant'st our ears.
2 pages, circa 2' 00"
Reading in the last days many texts in praise of music, and many texts on music and its role in the religions of many cultures, I came across this sweet text from Herrick. It sang to me, and is a musical response, reflecting on a blog post by Norman Lebrecht which sparked a bit of acerbic verse from me: With regard to music.
Robert Herrick (1591-1674) was an English poet, who wrote over 2,500 poems, about half of which appear in his major work, Hesperides, from which the portrait is taken. His themes have
been summarized as "life is short, the world is beautiful, and love is splendid." This paean to music is one among many, many praises to the art form. Coming easily to recollection are Handel's Ode on St. Cecilia’s Day, Schubert's lovely An die Musik to Franz von Schober's text, and the wondrous Serenade to Music (1938) by Ralph Vaughan Williams, after a text by Shakespeare. With art from such musical masters as these, and many more texts by fine poets like Richard Barnfield, Arthur O'Shaughnessy and Rainer Maria Rilke to name only a few, one finds musicians' and poets' praise of music spread out across the whole of the Western culture, while many Asian cultures also have their enthusiasm for this art as well.
Wide-spaced triads in arpeggio remind of a harp of the the bards and troubadours. Light polytonal harmonic colors spice the setting, as it moves through a number of tonal regions in its gentle, word-painting statements.
The score for To Music 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.
8 ½ x 11 edition