Three Facets of Love (2006)

for SATB double quartet/choir
ca 13 minutes
in 3 movements

Text: Songs of Solomon

Premiere: Feb 28th 2006 by Sospiro, in Beall Concert Hall, University of Oregon

Performances:

  • May 4th, 2012 by University of Wisconsin-Madison Madrigal Singers; Jerry Hui, conductor

The wonderful imagery in Song of Solomon has always been a fascination for me. Its religious context aside, the poetry is a beautiful, sometimes subtle yet often elaborate portrayal of love. Thus in setting these three selections of text, I am concerned with the more secular idea within.

This set is originally intended for the vocal ensemble Sospiro, which is a SATB double quartet in University of Oregon. However it is suitable for a full choir as well.

1. Quae habitat in hortis

Quae habitas in hortis
amici auscultant:
fac me audire vocem tuam.
Fuge, dilecte mi,
super montes aromatum.

Leva eius sub capite meo,
et dexter illius amplexabitur me.
Quis mihi det te fratrem meum,
ut inveniam te foris, et deosculer
et iam me nemo despiciat.

Pone me ut signaculum super cor tuum,
ut signaculum super brachium tuum;
Quia fortis est ut mors dilectio,
dura inferus aemulatio;
Lampades eius lampades ignis
atque flammarum.

Thou that dwellest in the gardens,
the companions hearken to thy voice:
cause me to hear it.
Make haste, my beloved,
upon the mountains of  spices.

His left hand should be under my head,
and his right hand should embrace me.
If only you were to me like my brother,
then if I found you outside, I would kiss you,
and no one would despise me.

Set me as a seal upon thine heart,
as a seal upon thine arm:
Because love is strong as death,
jealousy is unyielding as the grave;
It burns like a blazing fire,
like an eternal flame.

Adapted from  Solomon 8

2. Quam pulchra es

Quam pulchra es et quam decora,
Carissima in deliciis tuis!
Statura tua assimilata est palmae
Et ubera tua botris.
Caput tuum ut Carmelus.
Collum tuum sicut turris eburnea.
Veni, dilecte mi, Egrediamur in agrum;
Videamus si flores parturierunt mala punica:
Tibi dabo ubera mea.

How lovely thou art,
most beloved in thy pleasures!
Thy figure is like a palm tree,
and thy breasts like bunches of grapes.
Thy head is like the Carmel.
Thy neck like an ivory tower.
Come, my beloved, Let us go forth to the fields;
Let us see if the flowers have given way to purple fruits:
I give thee my breasts.

Adapted from Solomon 7

3. Anima mea

Anima mea liquefacta est,
ut dilectus locutus est.
Quaesivi et non inveni illum,
vocavi et non respondit mihi.Invenerunt me custodes civitatis
percusserunt me et vulneraverunt me;
tulerunt pallium meum custodes murorum,

filiae Ierusalem,
nuntiate dilecto quia amore langueo.

My soul melted
as he spoke.
I sought him and I did not find him;
I called and he did not answer.
The watchmen found me who go about the city;
they beat me and wounded me.
I adjure you, daughters of Jerusalem:

The guardians of the walls took my cloak from me.
if you find my beloved, tell him I languish for love.

Adapted from Solomon 5

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