November 08, 2008

EMANCIPATION - New Shape-Note Anthem, with printable score & demo solo-quartet recording.

I was hoping to post this on election day, but the recording couldn't quite have happened yet. Due to the complexities of this shape-note anthem, the recording process was a bit trickier than anticipated, & in result I apologize for certain resulting sloppinesses. It's just a test demo to hear the harmonies! The text is from William Blake's AMERICA: A PROPHECY (1793), his epic illuminated poem about the American Revolution, in which the god Orc sings this intense hymn of freedom. I'll add more thoughts about this piece later, but in the meantime enjoy my attempt at singing all four parts with myself.

The morning comes, the night decays, the watchmen leave their stations;
The grave is burst, the spices shed, the linen wrapped up;
The bones of death, the cov'ring clay, the sinews shrunk & dry'd,
Reviving shake, inspiring move, breathing! awakening!
Spring like redeemed captives when their bonds & bars are burst.
Let the slave grinding at the mill run out into the field:
Let him look up into the heavens & laugh in the bright air;
Let the inchained soul shut up in darkness and in sighing,
Whose face has never seen a smile in thirty weary years,
Rise and look out; his chains are loose, his dungeon doors are open.
And let his wife and children return from the opressor's scourge.
They look behind at every step & believe it is a dream,
Singing, 'The Sun has left his blackness, & has found a fresher morning
And the fair Moon rejoices in the clear & cloudless night;
For Empire is no more, and now the Lion & Wolf shall cease.'

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