Incantation

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Soprano solo/piano
Secular texts in English by Elinor Wylie
Duration: thirteen minutes
Difficulty rating (1-5): 4+

 
I. The Little Clock
II. Where, O Where?
III. Fair Annetís Song
IV. Incantation
V. Little Elegy

Premiered November 2, 2003 by Angela Presutti, soprano with Paul Carey, piano

Wylie writes such magical poetry, but also some heartbreakingly sad poems as well, such as Where, O Where? A big thank you to Angela Presutti for wanting to tackle these songs!

Complete perusal score available upon request.

 


TEXTS

The Little Clock
The little clock half-past-four and the first bird waking,
Falling on my heart like a thin green leaf.
If you are alive, your heart is breaking,
If you are dead, you are done with grief.
Half-past-five and the birds singing sweetly,
World washed silver with the rain and the wind.
If you are a saint, you have lived discreetly,
If you are a sinner, you have surely sinned.  
Half-past-seven and the birds singing madly,
Sun flames up in the sky like a lark.
If there are things to remember sadly,
Wait and remember them after dark.

Where, O Where?
I need not die to go so far
You cannot know my escape, my retreat,
And the prints of my feet
Written in blood or dew;
They shall be hid from you,
In fern-seed lost or the soft flakes of frost.
They will turn somewhere under water,
Over air, to earth space or stellar,
Or the garret or the cellar
Of the house next door,
You shall see me no more
though each night I hide in your bed,
At your side.
 
Fair Annetís Song
One thing comes and another thing goes:
Frosts in November drive away the rose;
Like a blowing ember the wind-flower blows
And drives away the snows.
It is sad to remember and sorrowful to pray:
Let us laugh and be merry,
Who have seen today the last of the cherry
And the first of the May;
And neither one will stay.
One thing comes and another thing goes:
Frosts in November drive away the rose;  
Like a blowing ember the wind-flower blows  
And drives away the snows.

Incantation
A white well in a black cave;
A bright shell in a dark wave
A white rose black brambles hood;

Smooth bright snows in a dark wood.
A flung white glove in a dark fight;
A white dove on a wild black night.

A white door in a black lane;
A bright core to bitter black pain.
A white hand waved from dark walls;

In a burnt black land bright waterfalls.
A bright spark where black ashes are;

In the smothering dark one bright star.

Little Elegy
Withouten you no rose can grow;
No leaf be green if never seen your sweetest face;
No bird have grace or power to sing;
Or anything be kind, or fair,
And you nowhere.
 

 

 
 
 

  

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