Was just listening to Danielle de Niese singing arias written by Handel, the composer of one of my favorite works, Water Music. I can understand the accolades she has received in the classical world. And in addition to the music, I enjoyed the lyrics as well – some were so dramatic! Not surprising for operas, I suppose… anyway, here are a couple:
“Da tempeste” (Giulio Cesare in Egitto – Act III, Scene 6; lyrics – Nicola Francesco Haym)
If a ship, buffeted by storms,
then reaches safe harbor,
it no longer knows what to wish for.
Thus the heart that finds solace
after enduring pain and despair
brings joy once more to the soul.
“Tornami a vagheggiar” (Alcina – Act I, Scene 14; lyrics – anon.)
I was reading a review of a new CD, A Wonder Working Stone, we are adding to the collection and a quote from one of the songs struck me: “Get over your tiny self/Because all days will end in joy.” The artist is Alasdair Roberts and although he started out recording traditional Scottish folk music, this is a album of mainly original compositions.
I haven’t even listened to the music yet, but already love his poetry.
As I was flipping through the lyrics to find the song the review quote was from, again I was struck by his words in “Song Composed in December,” especially with recent events in Boston and other evils perpetrated by human beings against humanity.
Song Composed in December
This song’s made in anger, this song’s made in love
Where the croak of the hawk meets the coo of the dove
Where minstrelsy’s slander and rhyme turns to rage
To make a song about the renovation of the age
Woe to those who celebrate the taking up of violence
And woe to those who perpetrate delusions of their sirelands
Who’d fight for no reason with sword or with firebrand
Be they reiver in the border or raider in the highland
And joy to those who celebrate the breaking up of weapons
Who take a stand to raise a hand against oncoming slaughter
And joy to those who strive to give a voice to those with none
The fosterer of errant son and sire of wild daughter
And joy to those who’d use their songs as clues to find their clan
But woe to those who’d use them to enslave their fellow man
From open moor where kestrels soar on wings of beauty
To cloisters where vestals bear their palms of beauty
To waterfall tumbling, cascading and purling
To the flowery machair where the echo mocks the yellow yorlin
From forest deep where numens peep from every oaken bole
To city streets where people seek completion of the soul
For everyone with double bond of suffering to thole
I will sow a seed of honesty upon the bluebell knoll
There’s a little more to the song (including some Welsh rap!) than I am including in this post, but I will leave you to discover more of his words – and music- on your own.
Not so – you still have time before tomorrow to check out Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt asking me to go out New Year’s Eve… or maybe they’re asking you…I’m not totally sure…
But anyway, it’s a lovely little rendition of Frank Loesser’s song, (What are You Doing) New Year’s Eve. Check out their version on Youtube, so sweet! And if you’re still on Christmas time, check out Zooey in the movie Elf bringing some Christmas cheer. Or you can hear more of her music as part of the group She & Him – yes the library has copies of the CDs. Happy New Year!!