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Song of Spring (2016)

For SSA Choir, a capella

Score (PDF)

Program Notes

In contrast with my joyful 2014 setting of the same text, this 2016 version of  Quintana's Song of Spring presents a more melancholy, resigned perspective of the season.  Though still brimming with life, here Quintana's "dance" is a poignant lament for the beloved dead and his "explosions of blossoming trees," an inevitable cycle of nature casting ephemeral human existence in brittle bas-relief.

The Text

Canção da Primavera

(Para Érico Veríssimo)

 

Primavera cruza o rio

Cruza o sonho que tu sonhas.

Na cidade adormecida

Primavera vem chegando.

 

Catavento enloqueceu,

Ficou girando, girando.

Em torno do catavento

Dancemos todos em bando.

 

Dancemos todos, dancemos,

Amadas, Mortos, Amigos,

Dancemos todos até

 

Não mais saber-se o motivo…

Até que as paineiras tenham

Por sobre os muros florido!

 

-Mario Quintana; Canções, 1946

Song of Spring

 

 

Spring passes over the river

Passes through the dream you are dreaming.

In the slumbering city

Springtime is coming.

 

The weathercock has gone mad

Has gone turning, turning

And around the weathercock

All of us dance in a flock.

 

All of us dance, we dance

The Beloved, the Dead, the Friends,

All of us dance until

The purpose cannot be recalled...

 

Until the floss silk treest have

Blossomed over the ramparts.

 

-Translation by Jan Reinhart

The Composition Process

Written over a January weekend, these manuscript scans show the song in second draft.  Mostly lacking specific rhythms and meter, the draft outlines the main sections of the piece, with annotations indicating points of expansion.  The phrase "When I call God's name, God answers" is the text to a liturgical antiphon composed for that weeks's church service, indicating this draft was written on a Saturday night or Sunday morning.  Note the draft is written across the page divider.