Come to the Waters (download)


Soprano and piano–8′

A dazzling three-part cantata for coloratura and piano about abundance. Text from Isaiah.

Listen to a performance by Karen Clift and Timothy Lovelace. Used by permission of Minnesota Public Radio and the performers:

Preview the score:



Come to the Waters

Coloratura soprano, piano
8′ duration
Text: Isaiah 55, v. 1, 2, 10-13, King James Version
Premiere—1993, by Karen Clift and John Churchwell, Saint Paul, MN.
Voice range:
15 pages

Program Note

When Karen Clift requested a song suitable for both recital and church I remembered these verses, which I wanted to set since they were pointed out to me as a child. I wrote a piece that is neither child-like nor suitable for most churches. It requires a coloratura of great flexibility and rhythmic awareness. But the work was brilliantly performed on several occasions by Ms. Clift, most recently with Timothy Lovelace for the 2008 Schubert Club Summer Song Festival. –DET


Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread: and your labour for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.

For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed:

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me empty.

Ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the laurel tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.



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