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CD 161   Steven Sametz: I Have Had Singing

 

CD161

I Have Had Singing

Choral music by Steven Sametz

The Princeton Singers
Steven Sametz, Director

  • 24-page insert with notes by the composer
  • Complete texts and English translations
  • 61'01" total playing time

    CD161   $15.95

Purchase from Canticle Distributing

 

CONTENTS
1. I Have Had Singing 02:09
2. in time of 08:36
    with The Resident Training Choir of The American Boychoir School, Vincent Metallo, director; and trebles from Princeton High School Choir, Charles Sundquist, director  
3. Magnificat 06:02
    with The Resident Training Choir of The American Boychoir School  
4. Dudaryku - A Village Scene 09:03
    with guest artists CHANTICLEER  
  Two Medieval Lyrics  
  5. There Is No Rose 04:25
      Mary Trigg, soprano  
  6. Gaudete (Rejoice!) 02:16
  Amo!  
  7. Munus (A Gift) 03:23
  8. Dulcis Amor (Sweet Love) 09:05
      with guest artists John Aler, tenor, and Elem Eley, baritone  
  9. Amo! (Madrigal) (I Love) 04:27
10. Child of Song 06:53
    Margaret Anne Butterfield, soprano  
11. Shenandoah 04:41
    John Piccolini, tenor  

 

As composer and conductor, I have been privileged to work with The Princeton Singers for ten years. I am ever grateful to them for the talent and generosity of spirit they bring to each new work. Composers' works are their children. Each time notes are brought into the air, there is a birth. I am so fortunate that my children have had such care given to them by so many talented singers. To all the singers who have performed my pieces over the years, and especially to The Princeton Singers, my deepest thanks. We have had singing.      --Steven Sametz


1. I Have Had Singing (1992)

I Have Had Singing paraphrases lines taken from Ronald Blythe's Akenfield: Portrait of an English Village. In the 1960's, Blythe traveled throughout his native county of Suffolk, England interviewing farmers, plowmen, blacksmiths - people whose stories dated back to the early 20th century. One gentleman, given the name Fred Mitchell in the book, was an 85-year old horseman who told his story of working a bleak, unfertile land in a life filled with little joy. In the middle of his story, he stopped and said, "But there was always singing: the boys in the fields, the chapels were full of singing. I have had pleasure enough; I have had singing."

I Have Had Singing was written for the Berkshire Choral Festival, a summer amateur music festival. I Have Had Singing speaks to amateur and professional musicians alike about the simple love of singing and the lasting joy it can bring.

The singing. There was so much singing then, and this was my pleasure too,
We all sang, the boys in the fields, the chapels were full of singing, always singing;
Here I lie. I have had pleasure enough, I have had singing.
--Fred Mitchell (Horseman from Akenfield, England, age 85) as told by Ronald Blyth in Akenfield: Portrait of an English Village, © 1969, Penguin Twentieth Century Classics. Used by permission.


2. in time of (1999)

e.e. cummings' in time of daffodils (who know) was set in memory of Jay Blake. Originally scored for double chorus, two antiphonal treble choirs and orchestra, it is recorded here with a reduced orchestration for four violins, organ and harp. It also exists in a 12-part a cappella arrangement.

The poem uses the metaphor of flowers in their seasons to trace the stages of our lives: childhood, the time of growth; adolescence, a time when dreams seem more real than our waking hours; and adulthood, a time when we may suddenly, briefly, wake to the wonder of the present moment.

As we mature, we see it is the journey that defines us, not our goals ("remember seek, forgetting find"). At last, after the mystery of death, beyond the constraint of time, we discover a final freedom.

The text is explored in a variety of choral groupings, in which two youth choirs echo and amplify the sentiments expressed in the poetry. The essence of the poem finds its expression in the receding waves of repetition that bring the piece to a close: in remembrance we find release, and that even as we are released from those we leave behind, we are remembered.

in time of daffodils (who know
the goal of living is to grow)
forgetting why, remember how

in time of lilas who proclaim
the aim of waking is to dream
remember so, (forgetting seem)

in time of roses (who amaze
our now and here with paradise)
forgetting if, remember yes)

in time of all sweet things beyond
whatever mind may comprehend,
remember seek (forgetting find)

and in a mystery to be
(when time from time shall set us free)
forgetting me, remember me

--from Complete Poems 1904-1962 by e.e. cummings, edited by George J. Firmage; used by permisiion of Liveright Publishing Corporation. © Copyright 1958, 1986, 1991 by the Trustees for the E.E.Cummings Trust.


3. Magnificat (1996)

The compositional idea for Magnificat occurred on an airplane flight from Katmandu. I was taken by what I thought to be a medieval chant being quiety played over the plane's sound system. When I realized that no music was being played, and that in fact I hearing the gentle thrumming of harmonics generated by the drone and the pulse of the plane's engines - a kind of mechanized music of the spheres - I quickly notated this aural impression (found in the central harmonically static setting of the "et misericordia"). The piece, although it grows from plainchant melody, swells to formidable volume and scope, with the soaring treble of the boychoir providing a final adornment in the doxology.

Magnificat anima mea Dominum,
et exsulavit spiritus meus
in Deo salutari meo,
quia respexit
humilitatem ancillæ suæ.
Ecce enim ex hoc
beatam me dicent omnes generationes.
Quia fecit mihi magna qui potens est,
et sanctum nomen eius.
Et misericordia eius a progenie
in progenies timentibus eum.
Fecit potentiam in bracchio suo,
dispersit superbos
mente cordis sui.
Deposuit potentes de sede
et exalavit humiles.
Esurientes implevit bonis,
et divites dimisit inanes.
Suscepit Israel puerum suum,
recordatus misericordiæ suæ.
Sicut locatus est ad patres nostros,
Abraham et semini eius in sæcula.
Gloria Patri, et Filio,
et Spiritui Sancto.
Sicut erat in principio,
et nunc et semper
et in sæcula sæculorem. Amen.
My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit has rejoiced
in God my Savior,
for He has regarded
the lowliness of His handmaiden.
For behold, from henceforth
all generations shall call me blessed.
For He that is mighty has magnified me,
and holy is His name.
And His mercy is on them that fear Him
throughout all generations.
He has showed strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proud
in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their seat,
and has exalted the humble and meek.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich He has sent empty away.
He, remembering His mercy, has helped
His servant Israel
as He promised to our forefathers,
Abraham and his seed, forever.
Glory be to the Father, and the Son,
and to the Holy Ghost:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen


4. Dudaryku - A Village Scene (2001)

Dudaryku (The Piper) was introduced to me by my friend Natalka Pavlovsky as "the Ukrainian version of Der Leiermann" (The Organ Grinder). LIke Scubert's famous Lied, this Ukrainian folksong hauntingly evokes the song of the town musician using the simple drone of his instrument. Dudaryku pays homage to the beloved piper who once played for the townspeople.

Several factors coalesced to create Dudaryku. I considered the many traditions of folksongs in western music: the simple folksong without accompaniment; arrangements (like the 19th-century arrangement of Dudaryku by Leontovich); and the composition of new work in a folk style (exemplified in works of Brahms and Stephen Foster). The intersection of these traditions - using the old, borrowed, and the new - intrigued me.

Dudaryku begins with a newly composed setting of the folksong text which laments the loss of the treasured town musician. There is a transition, referencing Leontovich's arrangement of the Dudaryku folksong, and then a newly composed setting of another Ukrainian folksong, Oy Khodyla D'ivchyna (A Girl Went Walking), in which a girl summons the piper to play in order to ease her sorrows. Oy Khodyla D'ivchyna brings to mind the tunes the piper played for the Ukrainian villagers. Its final line about "easing sorrows" provides a transition into the lament for the piper himself.

Old piper - o piper, you once walked through the village, you once played upon
your bagpipe; now, you are no longer. Your bagpipe lies idle, and only its reeds
remain; who knows for whom these things have been left. Old piper - o piper!

A girl walked along the river bank goading a duck with a switch. "Get on home,
silly duck. I will sell you to an old man!" For three kopeks she sold the duck and
for a kopek she hired a piper. "Play for me piper, let me forget my sorrows!"


Two Medieval Lyrics (1995)

Two Medieval Lyrics, commissioned in 1995 for Chanticleer by Terry Knowles and Marshall Rutter, is a setting of two well-known medieval English carols: There is No Rose of Such Virtue and Gaudete! The first carol sets a solo voice against a murmuring choral background. Gaudete! uses the 14th century carol as material to develop a contrapuntal texture in a jubilant song of praise.

5. There Is No Rose
There is not rose of such virtue
   as is the rose that bare Jesu. Alleluia.
For in this rose contained was
   heaven and earth in little space, Res miranda
[Wondrous thing.]
The angels sang and the shepherds, too:
   "Gloria in excelcis Deo! Gaudeamus!
[Let us rejoice!]
So leave we all this worldly mirth,
   and follow we this joyful birth: Transeamus,
[Let us go,] Alleluia!

6. Gaudete!

Gaudete! Christus est natus,
Ex Maria Virgine: Gaudete!
Tempus adest gratiæ
Hoc quod optabamus;
Carmina lætitiæ
Devote redamus.
Deus homo factus est,
Natura mirante;
Mundus renovatus est
A Christo regante.
Ezichielis porta
Clausa pertransitur
Unde lux est orta,
Salus invenitur.Eergonostra concio
Psallat jam in lustro;
Benedicat Domino:
Salus Regi nostro.
Rejoice! Christ is born
Of the Virgin Mary; Rejoice!
The time of grace has come,
For which we have prayed;
Let us devoutly sing
Songs of joy.
God is made man
While nature wonders;
The world is renewed
By Christ the King.
The closed gate of Ezekiel
Has been passed through;
From where the Light has risen,
Salvation is found.
Therefore let our asembly sing
At this time of purification;
Let it bless the Lord;
Greetings to our King.

Amo! (2003-2004)

I began setting medieval Latin texts in 2000 with my choral symphony, Carmina amoris (Songs of Love). For this, I looked into clerical letters, poetry, lyrics, even fragments and was continually impressed with he freshness of these texts. In 2003, when I wa asked to set a tribute to Jameson Marvin for his 25th anniversary at Harvard, and in 2004, when I was commissioned to set a new work for the Harvard Glee Club, I returned to this trove of medieval lyric poetry. Both Munus (A Gift) and Dulcis amor (Sweet Love) set texts of the great English scholar, Alcuin of York (735-804) who, as head of Charlemagne's school in Aachen and later as Archbishop of York, was one of the most influential teacher-scholars of his time. The lines from Alcuin's letters show him to have been a passionate poet as well.

When it came time in 2004 to write my annual commission for The Princeton Singers, I chose to complete the set of Latin lyrics as a triptych with Amo! (Madrigal) (I Love), setting lines of Baudri of Bourgueil (1046-1130). What we know of Baudri indicates he fell in love emphatically and often. He gives the sense of an adolescent's insistent, unquenchable ardor at the sight of his new love in highly alliterative lines. There is a sense of almost tripping over the words in excitement until the youth reflects on his bliss, when a chorale-like moment of calm ensues:

Plurima concimus de nobis pauca loquuti.
Entuit morum subito dulcedo tuorum.

Just speaking a few words, we learned much about each other.
Unexpectedly, the sweetness of your character dazzled me.

7. Munus (A Gift)
Delitiasque poli semperque manentia regna
     
 Let us seek out heaven's eternal deights
quæramus toto pectore, mente, manu.
      
with heart, mind and hand,
poli nunquam disiungit amicum;
      
Heaven never parts true friends;
semper habet, quod amat, pectus amore calens.
     
 for a heart warmed by love has that love forever within.
Aspice lætifico gratanter corde, precamur,
     
 With joy and glad heart, I pray,
parvula quæmagnus munera misit amor.
      
you will receive this small token to you by real love.
--Alcuin (c. 735-804): Ad amicum absentem suspiria. Tr. Steven Sametz

8. Dulcis amor (Sweet Love)
Dulcis amor lacrimis absentem plangit amicum

      Sweet love weeps tears for absent love,
quem longinqua negat terra videre oculis.
      Long distant land denies my eyes sight of him
Rara fides hominum caros effecit amicos,
      Rare the faithfulness among men which creates dear friends
milia multa cient, pectore solus erit.
      Innumerable those who cry, the heart remains alone.
Argento melior, fulvo pretiosior auro,
      Better than silver, more precious than yellow gold,
omnibus et gazis clarior iste nitet,
      All this and royal treasure are nothing compared to this one
quem cupit et quaerit mentis sibi tota voluntas
      Who is coveted and sought for by the heart with its whole desiring
ut habeat, teneat, diligat atque colat.
      So that it may have, hold, esteem, and care for him.
Iste eris ecce mihi magno coniunctus amore,
      This is therefore my great bond of love,
tu requies mentis, tu mihi dulcis amor.
      You are the quiet of the heart, you my sweet love.
Te deus aeterno conservat tempore semper,
      May God protect you through all time;
tu me memor semper ubique vale
      Remember me always wheresoever you go, farewell.
--Alcuin (c. 735-804): Ad amicum absentem suspira. Tr. Steven Sametz


9.Amo! (Madrigal) (I Love)
Olim te vidi, vidi voluique videre,
     When I first saw you, I looked and wanted to stare.
ipseque te viso plus mihi complacui.
      The more I saw of you, the more I was pleased.
Plurima concimus de nobis pauca loquuti
      Just speaking a few words, we learned much about each other.
Entuit morum subito dulcedo tuorum.
      Unexpectedly, the sweetness of your character dazzled me.
Te si quid valeat mecum mea musa perennet.
      If my muse can do anything, let her immortalize you.
Ipse salutatus tandem te triste recessi,
      After you bid me farewell, at last I departed, leaving you sad;
teque salutato tristis ego redeo.
      After I said farewell to you, I went away, sad myself.
Veritus...qui de vobis poterit dicere: "plus amo te."
      Truly, who among you can I say: "I love you most."
Te si quid valeat mecum mea musa perennet,
      If my muse can do anything, let her immortalize you,
te quoque perpetuis perptuet titulis.
      And preserve you with everlasting renown.
--Baudri of Bourgueil (1046-1130): from Ad Maiolum


10. Child of Song (2005)

Sketches for Child of Song (for soprano and piano) date back to January 2000. My good friends, Pam and John Sebastian, had recently lost their son, Bear (a student of mine), to a tragic motorcycle accident. A few years later, I watched with horror the images of families and loss in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. I was moved to take up the idea again of a lament, specifically for that most unnatural of acts - when parents must bury their children.

When I considered the addition of a chorus to the original piece, I was reminded of choral literature which expressed the connection of mother and child. For me, the most poignant expression of this is found in the fifth movement of Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem, where the soprano soloist speaks as a motherly voice from heaven, singing, "You have had sorrow. I will comfort you; I will see you again." In Child of Song, the roles are inverted: the soprano sings as a mother who has lost her child and asks that the spirit of her child be with her in her last hour. It is the chorus, quoting from Brahms' Requiem, that ethereally speaks the words from the departed child, recognizing the parents' grief and offering a calm assurance of comfort, as from a mother, that they shall see each other again.

Child of Song is a small portrait of tragedy that occurs when a parent loses a child. It is offered to all who have suffered the untimely death of a loved one.

Child of song, oh Child of prayer,
Child I held now beyond all care,
Child I held, oh hold me now.
    
Chorus: Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit. (Now you have sorrow.)
Child age is not for you, Child of my song;
Oh my Child keep trust with me
Ah, until we sing again, my Child.
Chid that I held, sing me your song,
Cradle me now in my final hour.
Child of mine, Child I held, Child of Song.
    
Chorus: Ich will euch trösten, (I will trust you,)
Ah, until we sing again, my Child!
Child of song, oh Child of Prayer,

Child I held, oh hold me now.
    
Chorus: wie einen seine Mutter tröstet, (as one trusts one's mother,)
                   ich will euch wieder sehen. (I will see you again.)
                                                                                              --English text by Peter Elliot


11. Shenandoah (1998)

I remember listening to Garrison Keillor on A Prairie Home Companion wistuflly lamenting how the classic American folksong Shenandoah had descended to the level of background elevator music. There are so many arrangements of Shenandoah, that it was with great trepidation that I undertook to add one more to those possibly destined to listening at the mall.

This version of Shenandoah, humbly offered, has become a frequent encore for The Princeton Singers and an audience favorite over the years.

O Shenandoah, I long to see you,
Away, you rollin' river!
   Away, I'm bound away!
   'Cross the wide Missouri.

'Tis sev'n long years since I last seen you,
And hear your rollin' river
   Away, I'm bound away!
   'Cross the wide Missouri.

O Shenandoah, I love your daughter
For her I crossed the shining water.
   Away, I'm bound away!
   'Cross the wide Missouri.

Shenandoah, I'll not deceive you
O Shenandoah, I'm bound to leave you
   Away, I'm bound away!
   'Cross the wide Missouri.

 

Steven SametzSteven Sametz (b. 1954) has been called "one of America's most respected choral composers." His compostions have been heard throughout the world at the Tnaglewood, Ravinia, Salzburg, Schleswig-Holstein, and Santa Fe music festivals. His in time of appears on the Grammy award-winning CD by Chanticleer, Colors of Love, and his work may be heard on six other Chanticleer CDs, as well as The Princeton Singers' Reincarnations, Christmas with The Princeton Singers, and Old, New, Borrowed, Blues.

Sametz has received commissions from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Connecticut Council on the Arts, and the Santa Fe Music Festival, creating new works for Chanticleer, the Dale Warland Singers, Philadelphia Singers, Pro Arte Chamber Choir, the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, Connecticut Choral Artists, Los Angeles Master Chorale, and the King of Thailand. His compositions are published by ECS Publishing, Oxford University Press, Alliance Music, Walton Music, GIA, and Steven Samtez Publications.

Sametz is the Ronald J. Ulrich Professor of Music and director of Lehigh University Choral Arts in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and is founding director of the Lehigh Choral Union and the Lehigh University Choral Composers' Forum, a summer course of study designed to mentor emerging choral composers. Since 1998 he has served as Artistic Director for The Princeton Singers. His guest conducting appearances include the Taipei Philharmonic Foundation, the Berkshire Music Festival, the New York Chamber Symphony, and the Netherlands Radio Choir. Dr. Sametz has served as panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts and Chorus America. He has been acting Director of Choral Activities at Harvard University. At the Santa Fe Music Festival he conducted his own works in a program entitled "Sametz Conducts Sametz" with the Santa Fe Desert Chorale. He has conducted Chanticleer in the Monteverdi Vespers of 1610 in New York and San Francisco to critical acclaim.

Dr. Samtez holds degrees from Yale University, the Univerity of Wisconsin-Madison, and the Hochschule für Music und Darstellende Kunst in Frankfurt, Germany.

 

The Princeton SingersIn recent years, The Princeton Singers has earned a reputation as one of the nation's preëminent chamber choirs. Founded in 1983 by John Bertalot, then choir-master organist at Trinity Church in Princeton, New jersey, the ensemble was soon hailed by critics for its clarity of tone, elegance of execution, and purity of tuning. Composer-conductor Steven Sametz was appointed Artistic Director in 1998. Under Sametz's direction, The Princeton Singers' repertoire has expanded from medieval to modern, including gospel, jazz, and popular song. In addition to popular hometown performances, The Princeton Singers have been featured at conventions of the American Guild of Organists, the American Choral Directors Association and Chorus America. Sametz has led The Princeton Sigers in collaborative concerts with Chanticleer, The American Boychoir, Westminster Choir College's Schola Cantorum, the Princeton Symphony Orchestra and Lehigh University Choral Arts. The ensemble has been heard on National Public Radio's "Performance Today," "With Heart and Voice," and broadcast by the BBC while on tour in Europe. A full listing of The Princeton Singers' CDs may be viewed at princetonsingers.org.

The Princeton Singers today is a vital force in the creation of new works for choir. Both through a strong commissioning program and participation in workshops for aspiring composers, The Princeton Singers is strongly committed to the creation of new choral repertoire.


John AlerRenowned American tenor John Aler is one of the most acclaimed and admired singers on the international stage. He is a frequent performer with the New York Philhamonic, Cleveland, and Philadelphia Orchestras, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the symphony orchestras of Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco. In Europe, he has sung with the Berlin Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Orchestre Nationale de France and the BBC Symphony, appearing with conductors James Conlon, Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, Kurt Masur, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Simon Rattle, Michael Tilson Thomas, Herbert Blomstedt and Leonard Slatkin. He has performed at the major opera houses of the world including the Royal Opera Covent Garden, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Vienna, Munich, Salzburg, Hamburg, Geneva, Madrid and Brussels as well as New York City Opera, the Washington Opera and Santa Fe Opera. He is a regular performer at the major American summer festivals including Ravinia, Aspen, Chautauqua, Newport and Grant Park. Mr. Aler's extensive concert repertoire ranges from the Evangelist in the Passions of Bach and Britten's War Requiem to Sondheim's Sweeney Todd, which he performed with the San Francisco Symphony, the Ravinia Festival, and the New York Philharmonic. John Aler is featured on three Grammy award-winning recordings and can be heard on more than 60 recordings on DGG, Decca, EMI/Angel, Telarc, Teldec and more than a dozen other labels. A native of Baltimore, John Aler is an alumnus of the Catholic University in Washington, D.C. and the Juilliard School.


Elem EleyAmerican baritone Elem Eley, winner of the 1996 Joy in Singing Award, enjoys a remarkably varied career including opera, oratorio, and premieres of art song and cabaret music. He has appeared in productions with the Opera Festival of Rome, Opera Companies of Cincinnati, Hawaii, Shreveport and Syracuse, Athena Grand Opera, the Sylvan Opera Festival, the Center for Contemporary Opera, and Musica Europa 2001. His performances have been televised on WNET and in national syndication, with additional recording on Albany Records and MusicMasters Classics. In demand as a concert soloist, Mr. Eley has appeared with the Symphony Orchestras of Charlotte, Kansas City, New Jersey, Sioux City, and Springfield, the Orchestra of St. Luke's, the New York Chamber Ensemble, The Little Orchestra Society, Masterwork Chorus, Calvin Oratorio Society, Fairfield County Chorale, Princeton Pro Musica and others. Mr. Eley's first solo recital recording, a program of contemporary American art song, was released in 2008 by Albany Records. In addition to his active performance career, Elem Eley is Professor of Voice at Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, New Jersey.


Margaret Anne ButterfieldSoprano Margaret Anne Butterfield enjoys an active career as singer, choir director, teacher, and mother, and spends her free time composing. A veteran of seven tours with New York City Opera National Company, she holds a Master's degree in boice performance from Manhattan School of Music and a Bachelor's degree in music education from The Catholic University of America. Margaret Anne teaches at Wilmington Friends School in Delaware and serves as president of the American Choral Directors Association. This CD marks Margaret Anne's sixth recording with The Princeton Singers, which she joined in 1995.

 

Soprano Mary Trigg is a professional singer living in central New Jersey. She is church choir director at Abiding Presence Lutheran Church in Ewing, New Jersey, where she leads the children, youth, and adult choirs.


John Piccolini, tenor, has performed with the Westminster Symphonic Choir under the direction of Kurt Masur, with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, and with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Riccardo Muti. He currently specializes in teaching performance of Medieval and Renaissance choral music in Santa Fe, New Mexico.