Here is a little more information about the music you will be hearing at the GMchorale concert on November 11. I’ve included some Youtube links so that you can familiarize yourself with the music, but, of course, the live music will be more beautiful than any recording!
As I mentioned in my first message, we will feature the music of three American composers: Bernstein, Copland, and Randall Thompson.
Randall Thompson, noted mainly for his choral works, died in 1984. He taught at many institutions and in fact, taught Leonard Bernstein both at Harvard and at the Curtis Institute. In 1959 he published Frostiana - Seven Country Songs - settings of poems by Robert Frost. Here are two of my favorites.
The first is Come In, in which Frost deftly weaves between the world of nature and the world of human relationships. When I first read the poem, I imagined the speaker to be male - Frost speaking. But Thompson gives the piece a surprise twist in setting the poem for female voices - soprano and alto - thus giving women’s voices and thoughts validity and worth.
As I came to the edge of the woods,
Thrush music — hark!
Now if it was dusk outside,
Inside it was dark.
Too dark in the woods for a bird
By sleight of wing
To better its perch for the night,
Though it still could sing.
The last of the light of the sun
That had died in the west
Still lived for one song more
In a thrush's breast.
Far in the pillared dark
Thrush music went --
Almost like a call to come in
To the dark and lament.
But no, I was out for stars;
I would not come in.
I meant not even if asked;
And I hadn't been.
Another favorite is Choose Something Like a Star, in which Frost calls upon our better nature when times seem to be at their most turbulent.
Choose Something Like a Star
O Star (the fairest one in sight),
We grant your loftiness the right
To some obscurity of cloud-
It will not do to say of night,
Since dark is what brings out your light.
Some mystery becomes the proud.
But to the wholly taciturn
In your reserve is not allowed.
Say something to us we can learn
By heart and when alone repeat.
Say something! And it says, 'I burn.'
But say with what degree of heat.
Talk Fahrenheit, talk Centigrade.
Use Language we can comprehend.
Tell us what elements you blend.
It gives us strangely little aid,
But does tell something in the end
And steadfast as Keats' Eremite,
Not even stooping from its sphere,
It asks a little of us here.
It asks of us a certain height,
So when at times the mob is swayed
To carry praise or blame too far,
We may choose something like a star
To stay our minds on and be staid.