April 10, 2009

TURMERIC - Shape-Noted Score & Demo Solo-Quartet Recording

I wrote this short tune yesterday, after reading about Erasmus Darwin & his sexy plant poetry. (More about that later I hope.) The famous stanza about Curcuma (Turmeric, Flax), which includes in the footnote some foreshadowings of his son Charles Darwin's theories. (The page in The Botanic Garden in Google Books is here. That version of the book has prints by William Blake, including the one to the right.) The idea is that the four "eunuch" male organs on Curcuma ("four beardless youths") are similar to human male nipples, i.e. unintelligent design. However, I was struck by how, taken out of context, the stanza is quite mystical; not simply a woman being wooed by her beloved amongst other chaste loves, but ambiguous in the way that much medieval & Islamic love poetry can be read on many levels. Which is why I left the song so short, as an ambiguous fragment. Also, turmeric is delicious. My demo recording is not the prettiest this song can be sung, but will do as a demonstration. Download this mp3 here.

Woo'd with long care, Curcuma, cold and shy
Meets her fond husband with averted eye:
Four beardless youths the obdurate beauty move
With soft attentions of Platonic love.

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