Last night the Boston Choral Collective, led by Thomas Stumpf, began to rehearse my choral work 'O Miei Dolci Animali,' a setting (in Italian) of the Salvatore Quasimodo poem. They did quite well with the chromatic, rather lush harmonies, and it was wonderful to hear the piece begin to come to life.
Here is a literal translation of 'O miei dolci animali'
from The Penguin Book of Italian Verse, 1958
Now autumn spoils the green of hills, o my sweet animals.
We shall hear again, before nightfall,
the final lament of the birds, the call of the grey plain
that goes towards that high noise of the sea.
And the smell of the wood in the rain,
the smell of the burrows, how keen it is
here between the houses, among men,
o my sweet animals.
This face that slowly turns its eyes about,
this hand that marks the heavens
where a peal of thunder resounds, are yours,
o my wolves, my foxes burnt with blood.
Every hand, every face is yours.
You tell me everything has been in vain,
life, the days worn away by a steady flow of water,
while from the garden rises a singing of children.
Perhaps far from us now?
But they yield in the air like shadows, if as much.
But perhaps I know everything has not been.
What does it mean? People ask me, and I find it difficult to put an answer into words.
The music of my setting is my answer.
Thanks to Erika Vogel, Sarah Moyer, and Mary Gerbi for the lovely performance of my piece 'Spirits of Sleep' this afternoon (February 22) at the Concord Museum. The sextet from Handel and Haydn Society of Boston also included Michael Barrett, Jonas Budris and David McFerrin. It was a fun program; pieces all related to night and sleep by English and American composers, arranged in chronological order (I think I was the most recent).
The batteries in my little recorder went dead mid-concert, so I made the recording below with my cell phone; thus the not-so-good sound quality.