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Master Singers of Worcester

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Music of the 21st Century

TEXTS & TRANSLATIONS

 

I Dream of Rain
Words by Jan Garrett

I dreamed of rain, and the rains came,
soft and easy, sweet and clear.
I dreamed of rain and the rains came,
and peace spread over the land.

I dreamed of summer and the winds changed,
and the green was easy and the rivers ran clear.
I dreamed of summer and the winds changed,
and peace spread over the land.
And the flowers bloomed in the desert,
and the air is fresh and clear.
I dreamed of rain and the rains came,
and peace spread over the land.

I dreamed of freedom and the moon rose,
and the way was easy and the path was clear.
I dreamed of freedom and the moon rose,
and peace spread over the land.
And the guardian stars are shining,
and the night is bright and clear.
I dreamed of freedom and the moon rose,
and peace spread over the land.

I dreamed of heaven and the earth sang,
and the sound was easy, the song was clear.
I dreamed of heaven and the earth sang,
and peace spread over the land.
And the ancient pain is forgotten,
and the fathers’ debts are clear.
I dreamed of heaven and the earth sang.
Peace spread over the land.
I dreamed of rain and the rains came…

1000 Beautiful Things
Words by Annie Lennox

Every day I write the list
of reasons why I still believe they do exist:
(A thousand beautiful things.)
And even though it’s hard to see
the glass is full and not half empty
(A thousand beautiful things.)

So light me up like the sun,
to cool down with your rain.
I never want to close my eyes again,
never close my eyes.
 

I thank you for the air to breathe,
the heart to beat, the eyes to see again:
 
(A thousand beautiful things.)
And all the things that’s been and done,
the battle’s won, the good and bad in everyone:
(A thousand beautiful things.)
So here I go again, singin’ by your window, 
picking up the pieces of what’s left to find.

 The world was meant for you and me
to figure out our destiny:
(A thousand beautiful things.)
To live, to die, to breathe, to sleep,
to try to make your life complete.

Light me up like the sun,
to cool down with your rain.
I never want to close my eyes again,
never close my eyes.

That is everything I have to say…

O Vos Omnes
Tenebrae responsories for Holy Saturday

Written by MSW Artistic Director Edward Tyler, “O Vos Omnes” is meant to depict the crowds witnessing the Crucifixion, sometimes supporting, sometimes obscuring the recurring theme in the alto line.  Near the end of the work, all three lines of text can be heard simultaneously.  This compositional texture, known as macaronic, is sometimes used to heighten the drama of a musical idea.

O vos omnes, qui transitis per viam
Attendite et videte
Si est dolor, sicut dolor meus

All you who pass this way
Behold and see
If there be any sorrow, like my sorrow

The Ground
Adaptation of Sanctus, Benedictus, Agnus Dei of Mass Ordinary

This stand-alone piece is based on a chorale from the last movement of Gjeilo’s “Sunrise Mass,” written in 2008.  The three sections of text, from the Sanctus, Benedictus, and Agnus Dei, respectively, are presented in three contrasting keys (G Major, B Major, and Eb Major).

Pleni sunt caeli et terra
gloria tua
Osanna in excelsis

Benedictus qui venit
In nomine Domini.
Osanna in excelsis

Agnus Dei
Qui tollis peccata mundi
Dona nobis pacem

Heaven and earth are filled
with your glory
Hosanna in the highest

Blessed is he who comes
In the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest

Lamb of God
Who takes away the sins of the world
Grant us peace

Goodnight Moon
Words by Margaret Wise Brown

Composer Eric Whitacre found inspiration while reading and re-reading this beloved children’s story to his own son.  It was originally scored for harp, strings, and soprano soloist. 

In the great green room,
there was a telephone, and a red balloon
And a picture of the cow jumping over the moon
And there were three little bears sitting on chairs
And two little kittens, and a pair of mittens
And a little toy house, and a young mouse
And a comb and a brush and a bowl full of mush
And a quiet old lady who was whispering “hush”

Goodnight room, Goodnight moon,
Goodnight cow jumping over the moon
Goodnight light, and the red balloon
Goodnight bears, Goodnight chairs,
Goodnight kittens, and Goodnight mittens
Goodnight clocks and Goodnight socks
Goodnight little house, and Goodnight mouse
Goodnight comb and Goodnight brush
Goodnight nobody, Goodnight mush
And Goodnight to the old lady whispering “hush”
Goodnight stars, Goodnight air
Goodnight noises everywhere.

Today I Will
Various Anonymous authors

In 2017, Dr, Joe Miller and Anne Sears of Westminster Choir College, asked singers and audiences to finish the thought, “Today I will —.”  After hearing about this project at the ACDA National Conference, Connecticut composer Ellen Gilson Voth read and compiled several of those responses into this new composition.  It is presented in four short sections:  immediate surroundings, the need for beauty and hope, actions and values, and a final broader statement encompassing, “the great choir of humankind.”

Today I will look up to the sky
And feel my feet upon the ground,
and not forget to dream.

Today I will listen and surround myself
with beauty, (birds sing)
And drop my bucket down a deep well
and bring it back up, full of hope.

I will choose peace, be filled with grace,
take courage, smile at a stranger,
Accept the past and forgive,
Get on the floor and play with my daughter,
Trust in healing for our son,
Call a loved one and say all they mean to me,
Live without fear,
Give thanks,
Remember those whom we have lost.

Today I will sing only from my soul.
I will breathe (in)
and illuminate the wonders of God
And add my own voice
to the great choir of humankind.
I will begin again.

Lead with Love
Words by Melanie DeMore

You gotta put one foot in front of the other
and lead with love!

Don’t give up hope, You’re not alone,
Don’t you give up, keep movin’ on.

Lift up your eyes and don’t you despair.
Look up ahead, the path is there.

I know you’re scared, and I’m scared, too.
But here I am, right next to you!

Justice
Words by Paul Lawrence Dunbar and Rollo Dilworth

Let justice roll.  Lift your voice and sing.
Let justice roll.  Let freedom ring. 

Enthroned upon the mighty truth,
within the confines of the laws,
True justice seeth not the man,
but only hears his cause.
 

Unconscious of his creed or race,
She cannot see, but only weighs;
For Justice with unbandaged eyes
would be oppression in disguise.

We Tell Each Other Stories
Words by Michael Dennis Brown and Craig Hella Johnson

When the 21st Century is past, it is quite possible that “Considering Matthew Shepard” by Craig Hella Johnson will be considered a seminal work from this century.  The work tells the story of Matthew Shepard, a young gay man who’s murder in 1998 was felt worldwide.  In it, we hear the words of Matthew & his parents, protestors at his funeral, and poetry from the perspective of the fence upon which Matthew was tied and left for dead.  It is a challenging work, presented in several different musical styles, asking hard questions about the nature of hate and loss.  Ultimately though, it brings us back to a vision of hope, as Craig Hella Johnson says, “a huge tent where we all are welcomed.”

We tell each other stories
So that we will remember
Try and find the meaning
In the living of our days
Always telling stories,
Wanting to remember
Where and whom we came from
Who we are

Sometimes there’s a story
That’s painful to remember
One that breaks the heart of us all
Still we tell the story
We’re listening and confessing
What we have forgotten
In the story of us all

We tell each other stories
So that we will remember
Trying to find the meaning…

I am open to hear this story
About a boy, an ordinary boy
Who never had expected
His life would be this story,
(could be any boy)

I am open to hear a story.
Open, listen. All.

The Innocence
Words by Michael Dennis Brown and Craig Hella Johnson

When I think of all the times
The world was ours for dreaming,
When I think of all the times
The earth seemed like our home-
Every heart alive with its own longing,
Every future we could ever hope to hold.

All the times our laughter rang in summer,
All the times the rivers sang our tune-
Was there already sadness in the sunlight?
Some stormy story waiting to be told?

Where O where has the innocence gone?
Where O where has it gone?
Rains rolling down wash away my memory;
Where O where has it gone?

When I think of all the joys, the wonders we remember
All the treasures we believed we’d never ever lose.
Too many days gone by without their meaning,
Too many darkened hours without their peace.

Where O where has the innocence gone?
Where O where has it gone?
Vows we once swore, now it’s just this letting go,
Where O where has it gone?

Meet Me Here
Words by Michael Dennis Brown and Craig Hella Johnson

Meet me here
Won’t you meet me here
Where the old fence ends and the horizon begins
There’s a balm in the silence
Like an understanding air
Where the old fence ends and the horizon begins

We’ve been walking through the darkness
On this long, hard climb
Carried ancestral sorrow
For too long a time
Will you lay down your burden
Lay it down, come with me
It will never be forgotten
Held in love, so tenderly

Meet me here
Won’t you meet me here
Where the old fence ends and the horizon begins
There’s a joy in the singing
Like an understanding air
Where the fence ends and the horizon begins.

Then we’ll come to the mountain
We’ll go bounding to see
That great circle of dancing
And we’ll dance endlessly
And we’ll dance with the all the children
Who’ve been lost along the way
We will welcome each other
Coming home, this glorious day

We are home in the mountain
And we’ll gently understand
That we’ve been friends forever
That we’ve never been alone
We’ll sing on through any darkness
And our Song will be our sight
We can learn to offer praise again
Coming home to the light…

All Of Us
Words by Michael Dennis Brown and Craig Hella Johnson

What could be the song?
Where begin again?
Who could meet us there?
Where might we begin?
From the shadows climb,
Rise to sing again;
Where could be the joy?
How do we begin?

Never our despair,
Never the least of us,
Never turn away,
Never hide our face;
Ordinary boy,
Only all of us,
Free us from our fear,
Only all of us.

What could be the song?
Where begin again?
Who could meet us there?
Where might we begin?
From the shadows climb,
Rise to sing again;
Where could be the joy?
How do we begin?

Never our despair,
Never the least of us,
Never turn away,
Never hide your face;
Ordinary boy,
Only all of us,
Free us from our fear.

Only in the Love,
Love that lifts us up,
Clear from out the heart
From the mountain’s side,
Come creation come,
Strong as any stream;
How can we let go?
How can we forgive?
How can we be dream?

Out of heaven, rain,
Rain to wash us free;
Rivers flowing on,
Ever to the sea;
Bind up every wound,
Every cause to grieve;
Always to forgive,
Only to believe.

Most noble Light, Creation’s face,
How should we live but joined in you,
Remain within your saving grace
Through all we say and do
And know we are the Love that moves
The sun and all the stars?
O Love that dwells, O Love that burns
In every human heart.

(Only in the Love, Love that lifts us up!)

This evergreen, this heart, this soul,
Now moves us to remake our world,
Reminds us how we are to be
Your people born to dream;
How old this joy, how strong this call,
To sing your radiant care
With every voice, in cloudless hope
Of our belonging here.

Only in the Love, Only all of us…
(Heaven: Wash me…)

All of us, only all of us.
What could be the song? Where do we begin?
Only in the Love, Love that lifts us up.

All Of Us. All.