December 01, 2008

FOUNDERS ROCK - New Shape-note tune with Demo Solo-Quartet Recording

Hello, & here is another shape-note tune from The Western Harmony! The shape-note score, unfortunately, is not quite up, but will follow shortly. The text is from the Bishop George Berkeley's 1726 poem "On the Prospect of Planting Arts & Learning in America". Apparently, this poem is the reason Berkeley, California, is named for the Irish philosopher - - According to the Centennial Record of the University of California, "In 1866…at Founders' Rock, a group of College of California men were watching two ships standing out to sea through the Golden Gate. One of them, Frederick Billings, was reminded of the lines of the (Irish Anglican) Bishop Berkeley, 'westward the course of empire takes its way,' and suggested that the town and college site be named for the eighteenth-century Irish philosopher and poet." As the Sacred Harp has several grand patriotic songs, with sometimes antiquated notions (" crown the young & rising states", &c), I attempted to keep the music for this song appropriately conservative. Once again, I warn & apologize that the "solo-quartet" recording is merely a demo, to sort of test the harmonies, & it will sound cooler with real singers, when I make some friends.

The Muse, disgusted at an age & clime
Barren of every glorious theme,
In distant lands now waits a better time
Producing subjects worthy fame;

In happy climes, where from the genial sun
And virgin earth such scenes ensue,
The force of art by nature seems outdone,
And fancied beauties by the true:

In happy climes, the feat of innocence,
Where nature guides, & virtue rules;
Where men shall not impose for truth & sense
The pedantry of courts & schools.

There shall be sung another golden age,
The rise of empire & the arts,
The good & great inspiring epic rage,
The wisest heads & noblest hearts.

Not such as Europe breeds in her decay;
Such as she bred when fresh & young,
When heavenly flame did animate her clay,
By future poets shall be sung.

Westward the course of empire takes its way:
The four first acts already past,
A fifth shall close the drama with the day:
Time's noblest offspring is the last.

No comments: