July 04, 2009

ODE ON SCIENCE: Arrangement of this old patriotic tune for voice, two pianos, & percussion

"Ode on Science" is a patriotic tune in the Sacred Harp (Page 242) - written in 1798 by Jezeniah Sumner. I've always felt the folk hymn arrangement left something to be desired. I made this arrangement rather quickly last year & for no real purpose: scored for high voice (soprano or tenor), two pianos & some abstract percussion. ("Drum" sort of drone, which could be elaborated upon, & "hit". which in my MIDI playback is a synth "orchestra hit", ala Miles Davis' Tutu. It could also be a kettledrum.) Since there is no likely premier performance of this ever upcoming, I'll post this little home recording I made with the MIDI playback - remember it's just a demo, MIDI playbacks are always robotic & unsatisfying, & my singing is, merely a demo. (The two piano arrangement could be a sketch to possibly orchestrate it someday, if any specific ensemble wanted an extraction.) OKAY: shout, Long live America!

Download that mp3 here. I love the anachronistic young-country nationalism in the lyrics:

The morning sun shines from the east,
And spreads his glories to the west,
All nations with his beams are blest,
Where’er the radiant light appears.

So science spreads her lucid ray
O’er lands which long in darkness lay:
She visits fair Columbia,
And sets her sons among the stars.

Fair freedom her attendant waits,
To bless the portals of her gates,
To crown the young and rising states
With laurels of immortal day:

The British yoke, the Gallic chain,
Was urged upon our necks in vain,
All haughty tyrants we disdain,
And shout, “Long live America.”

The score can be downloaded on Scribd. My arrangement is in the public domain:
Ode on Science - Arrangement for Voice, Two Pianos, Percussion

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