Monday, June 20, 2016

PROGRAM SCHEDULE  •  SUN 19  •  MON 20  •  WED 22  •  FRI 24  •  SUN 26

Saint Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church, 8 p.m.

An Evening in Britain

Diana Rowan, harp
Dylan Hostetter, countertenor
Elizabeth Blumenstock, violin


Medieval Ireland
Gabhaim Molta Bríde (Hymn Brigid)

This is the oldest-known written piece of Irish music. St. Brigid holds such an important position in Irish culture that she is known as “Mary of the Gael” and the female counterpart to St. Patrick. She is associated with sacred fire, and to this day an eternal flame is kept alight by the Brigidine Sisters in Kildare.

Gabhaim molta Bríde,
Ionmhain i le hEirinn,
Ionmhain le gach tir I
Molaimis go léir i.

Lóchrann geal na Laighneach
A’ soilsiú feadh na tire,
Ceann ar óoghaibh Éireann
Ceann na mban ar mine.

Tig an eimhreadh dian dubh
’Ggearradh lena ghéire
Ach ar lá ’le Bríde
Gar dúinn earrach Éireann.

I pay homage to Saint Brigid,
Beloved in Ireland,
Beloved in all countries,
Let us all praise her.

The bright torch of Leinster
Shining throughout the country.
The pride of Irish youth
The pride of our gentle women.

The house of winter is very dark Cutting with its sharpness.
But on Saint Brigid’s Day
Spring is near to Ireland.

Sean O’Riada (1913-1971, Ireland)
Ag Críost an Síol

A song by Father Micheál Ó Síocháin, set to music by Seán Ó Riada in his 1968 composition Ceol an Aifrinn (“Music of the Mass,” commonly referred to as the “Ó Riada Mass.”) A founding member of the traditional Irish band The Chieftains, Ó Riada was instrumental in reviving Celtic music.


14th-century England (Yorkshire)
Lyke-Wake Dirge

Based on a very ancient, possibly pre-Christian, song, this dirge tells of the soul’s journey on its final night on earth. Each verse ends with the refrain, “And Christe receive thy saule.”

15th-century England
Three Ravens

This English folk ballad was published in 1611, but is no doubt older. Each stanza ends with the refrain, “With a downe, derrie, derrie, derrie, downe, downe.”

16th-century England
The Westron Wynde

This song was used as the basis for several masses by English composers such as John Taverner (1495–1545.) However, the original lyrics are very earthy!


John Dowland (1563–1626)
If Floods of Tears

If floods of tears could cleanse
my follies past,
And smokes of sighs
might sacrifice for sin;
If groaning cries might salve
my fault at last,
Or endless moan,
for error pardon win:
Then would I cry, weep, sigh
and ever moan,
Mine errors, faults, sins,
follies past and gone.

I see my hopes
must wither in their bud;
I see my favours are
no lasting flower.
I see that words will breed
no better good
Than loss of time and light’ning,
but at hours.
Thus when I see, then thus
I say therefore,
That favours, hopes and words
can blind no more.

John Dowland (1563–1626)
A Shepherd in a Shade

A shepherd in a shade,
his plaining made
of love and lovers wrong
Unto the fairest lasse that
trode on grasse,
and thus began his song.

Refrain: Restore, restore my hart againe,
which love by thy sweet looks
hath slaine,
Least that inforst by your distaine,
I sing, fie fie on love, it is a foolish thing.

Since love and fortune will,
I honour still
your faire and lovely eye,
What conquest will it be, sweet nymph,
for thee, if I for sorrow dye. Refrain

My hart where have you laid,
O cruell maide,
to kill when you might save,
Why have yee cast it forth
as nothing worth
without a tombe or grave. Refrain

O let it bee intombed and lye
in your sweet minde and memorie,
Least I resound
on every warbling string,
fye fye on love, that is a foolish thing.


Traditional Welsh
The Royal Dream

The harp is also the national instrument of Wales, although the Welsh harp is a triple-strung model based on the Italian Baroque harp. This traditional Welsh folksong was arranged by harpist Beth Kolle.

Traditional Welsh
Lady Owen’s Delight

Another tune from the Welsh, showing their love of flowing melody.

Traditional Welsh
The Blackbird on Silken Wings

Y deryn du a’i blufyn sidan
A’i big aur, a’i dafod arian,
A ei di drosta’i i Gydweli
I sbio hynt y ferch rwy’n caru.

Dacw’r ty, a dacw’r sgubor,
A dacw glwyd yr ardd yn agor,
A dacw’r goeden fawr yn tyfu
O dan ei bôn rwy’ am fy nghladdu.

Un, dau, tri pheth sy’n anodd imi
Yw rhifo’r sêr pan fo hi’n rhewi,
A dodi’m llaw i dwtshio’r lleuad
A deall meddwl f’annwyl gariad.

Llawn iawn yw’r wy o wyn a melyn
Llawn iawn yw’r môr o swnd a chregyn,
Llawn iawn yw’r coed o ddail a blode
Llawn iawn o gariad ydw inne.

Blackbird on silken wing,
Golden beak, silver tongued,
Fly from me to Kidwelly
To see how fares the girl I love.

There’s the house, there the barn,
There’s the open garden gate,
Over there the great tree growing
Neath its shade may I be buried.

One, two, three things are hard for me
Counting the stars on a frosty night,
Reaching up to touch the moon,
Knowing the heart of my dearest love.

So full is an egg of white and yellow,
So full the sea of sand and shells,
So full the woods of leaves and flowers,
So full of love am I.

Traditional Welsh
David of the White Rock

“Bring me my harp,”
was David’s sad sigh,
“I would play one more tune
before I die.
Help me, dear wife,
put the hands to the strings,
I wish my loved ones
the blessing God brings.”

Last night an angel
called with heaven’s breath:
David, play, and come
through the gates of death!
Farewell, faithful harp,
farewell to your strings,
I wish my loved ones
the blessing God brings.


IRISH BARDIC SONGS of Turlough O’Carolan

Turlough O’Carolan lived at almost exactly the same time as J.S. Bach. He was a traditional Irish bard, meaning he would go around the great houses of Ireland and live with the families for sometimes months at a time. He would recite Irish history, mythology, and compose new works. When he left, his tradition was to write a song for the lady of the house.

The first two songs in this set reflect this sweet practice. Sí Beag Sí Mór refers to two fairy hills, from which battling fairy armies met. The charming melody is an interesting contrast to the subject matter!

Turlough O’Carolan (1670–1738, Ireland)
Gentle Maiden

Turlough O’Carolan (1670–1738, Ireland)
Eleanor Plunkett

Turlough O’Carolan (1670–1738, Ireland)
Sí Beag Sí Mór


Henry Purcell (1659–1695)
Sweeter than Roses

Sweeter than roses,
or cool evening breeze
On a warm flowery shore,
was the dear kiss,
First trembling made me freeze,
Then shot like fire all o’er.
What magic has victorious love!
For all I touch or see since that dear kiss,
I hourly prove, all is love to me.

Henry Purcell (1659–1695)
An Evening Hymn

Now, now that the sun
hath veil’d his light
And bid the world goodnight;
To the soft bed my body I dispose,
But where shall my soul repose?

Dear, dear God, even in Thy arms,
And can there be any so sweet security!
Then to thy rest, O my soul!
And singing, praise the mercy that prolongs thy days. Hallelujah!


Traditional Manx
Ny Kirree fo Niaghtey
(Sheep Beneath the Snow

First published in 1896, this old song from the Isle of Man tells of how, after a hard winter, shepherds will find old sheep dead and new lambs alive.

12th-century Orkney Islands
Nobilis Humilis

We now go from one small island between Ireland and England to an archipelago off the northeastern coast of Scotland. This hymn celebrates Saint Magnus of Orkney.


My Love’s Like the Red Rose

The great Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759–1796) was invited to create lyrics for more than 100 Scottish traditional tunes. This is a fascinating reversal of the usual process, in which a composer is given a text and then finds ways to set it effectively to music. One can imagine that many writers, even poets, would fall short, given this assignment; but Burns manages it beautifully.

My love is like a red, red rose
that’s newly sprung in June;
My love is like the melody
that’s sweetly played in tune.
As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
so deep in love am I;
And I will love thee still, my dear,
till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
and the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
And I will love thee still, my dear,
while the sands o’ life shall run.
And fare thee weel, my only love,
and fare thee weel a while!
And I will come again, my love,
thou’ it were ten thousand mile.

My Lagan Love

This glorious air was collected in northern Ireland in 1903 and no doubt predates that. The words are magical and hypnotic.

Where Lagan streams sing lullabies
there blows a lily fair.
The twilight gleam is in her eye,
the night is on her hair.
And like a lovesick lenashee
she hath my heart in thrall.
No life have I, no liberty,
for love is Lord of all.

And often when the beetles horn
has lulled the eve to sleep,
I’ll steal into her sheiling lorn
and through the doorway creep.
There on the cricket's singing stone
she makes the bogwood fire
And sings in sweet and undertone
the song of hearts desire.

O Waly Waly

The water is wide, I cannot get o’er,
and neither I have wings to fly
Give me a boat that can carry two,
and both shall row — my love and I

There is a ship, she sails the sea,
she’s loaded deep as deep can be
But not as deep as the love I’m in;
I know not how I sink or swim

The water is wide, I cannot get o’er,
and neither I have wings to fly
Give me a boat that can carry two,
and both shall row — my love and I
And both shall row — my love and I.

Robert Bremner (c. 1713–1789)
Hit Her on the Bum
Variations for violin and harp

Many composers had a grand time writing sets of variations on Scottish traditional tunes (Veracini, Barsanti, Oswald and McGibbons, to name just a few), and this trifling but charming set is typical of them, and features an unusual variation with left-hand pizzicato.

I Will Give My Love an Apple

I will give my love an apple
without e’er a core
I will give my love a house
without e’er a door,
I will give my love a palace
wherein she may be,
But she may unlock it
without any key.

My head is the apple
without e’er a core,
My mind is the house
without e’er a door.
My heart is the palace
wherein she may be
And she may unlock it
without any key.

 Reception on the Patio


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