Song cycle for high voice and wind ensemble

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Song cycle for high voice and wind ensemble
Duration: 25′
Premiere—1991 by Kurt R. Hansen, tenor and the Northwestern University Wind Ensemble, John P. Paynter, cond.


 Flutes 1 & 2 (doubles alto flute),
 Oboes 1 & 2, 
English horn, E-flat Clarinet, Clarinets 1, 2, 3 in B-flat, Bass clarinet, B-flat Contrabass Clarinet, Bassoons 1 & 2, Alto saxophone
Trumpets 1 & 2 in B-flat, Horns 1 and 2, Trombones 1 & 2, Tuba
Percussion (3 players): Snare dum, Roto-toms, Bass drum, Tambourine, Claves, Maracas, Sizzle cymbal, Suspended cymbal, Tam-tam, Triangle, Wind chimes, Woodblock, Chimes, Crotales, Glockenspiel, Marimba, Vibraphone, Xylophone

Program note

God, that madest all things
Follow Thy Fair Sun
Look Down, Fair Moon
The Starre
A Wreath

Garland weaves five disparate poems, three sacred, two secular, by several poets of various periods. Although they are not overtly related, there is a progression which binds them. The two poems which frame the cycle present, to begin, a plea for mercy by an anonymous poet, to end, a personalized, known God. In between, the poems move from images of sun, to moon, to star and beyond. The motion is arrested by Whitman’s chilling scene of the battlefield dead; here is a most impersonal God, a most brutal Man. In Herbert’s “The Starre,” the soul is purified and distilled in a dance with both wild and stately elements, a spiritual alchemy which leaves as its essence the circular point of the cycle: in Herbert’s words, “a wreathed garland.” This final song was originally a wedding present for Christopher and Valerie Lorimer. An offering of simple praise for grace, understanding and forgiveness, it seems to me to read equally well addressed friend to friend, husband to wife, finite being to creator.

Garland received its premiere by the Northwestern University Symphonic Wind Ensemble, John P. Paynter, cond., with Kurt R. Hanson, tenor, Evanston, Ill., 1991.



God, that madest all things of nought,
And with thy precious blood us bought,
Mercy, help, and grace.

As thou art very god and man
And of thy side blood ran,
Forgive us our trespass.

The World, our flesh, the fiend our foe,
Maketh us misthink, misdo,
All thus we fall in blame.

Of all our sinnes, less and more,
Sweet Jesu, us rueth sore.
Mercy for thy holy name.

Anon., 15th C.


Follow thy fair sun, unhappy shadow;
Though thou be black as night,
And she made all of light,
Yet follow thy fair sun, unhappy shadow.

Follow her whose light thy light depriveth;
Though here thou liv’st disgraced,
And she in heaven is placed,
Yet follow her whose light the world reviveth!

Follow those pure beams whose beauty burneth,
That so have scorched thee,
As thou still black must be,
Till her kind beams thy black to brightness turneth.

Follow her while yet her glory shineth;
There comes a luckless night,
That will dim all her light;
And this the black unhappy shade divineth.

Follow still since so thy fates ordained;
The sun must have his shade,
Till both at once do fade;
The sun still proved, the shadow still disdained.

Thomas Campion


Look down fair moon and bathe this scene,
Pour softly down night’s nimbus floods on faces ghastly, swollen, purple,
On the dead on their backs with arms toss’d wide,
Pour down your unstinted nimbus sacred moon.

Walt Whitman


Bright sparke shott from a brighter place,
Where beames surround my Saviours face,
Canst thou be any where
So well as there?

Yet, if thou wilt from thence depart,
Take a bad lodging in my heart,
For thou canst make a debter,
And make it better.

First with thy fireworke burne to dust
Folly, and worse then folly, lust:
Then with thy light refine,
And make it shine.

So disengag’d from sinne and sicknes,
Touch it with thy Celestial quicknes,
That it may hang, and move
After thy Love.

Then with our Trinity of light,
Motion and heat, let’s take our flight
Unto the place, where thou
Before didst bow.

Gett mee a standing there, and place
Among the beames, which crowne the face
Of him, who dyed to part
Sinne and my hart:

That so among the rest I may
Glitter, and curle, and wind, as they:
That winding is their fashion
Of Adoration.

Sure thou wilt joy, by gaining mee
To fly home like a laden Bee
Unto that hive of beames
And garland-streames.George Herbert


A wreathed Garland of deserved praise,
Of praise deserved unto thee I give,
I give to thee, who knowest all my waies,
My crooked winding waies, wherein I live,
Wherein I dy, not live: for life is strait,
Straight as a line, and ever tends to thee,
To thee, who art more farre above deceit,
Then deceit seemes above simplicitie.
Give mee simplicitie, that I may live,
So live and like, that I may know thy waies,
And practice them then shall I give
For this poore wreath, give thee a crowne of praise.

George Herbert


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