Peter R Hallock

A Brevity for Baritone

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The poet, mystic, and Trappist monk Thomas Merton calls us to take note of all that surrounds us and listen to all that enfolds us—and to do so before our music vanishes or our lives come to an end. A Brevity for Baritone was composed for a concert at Saint Mark’s Cathedral on March 13, 1977. The work is scored for baritone solo, harp, oboe, and string orchestra. It was premiered by the Northwest Chamber Orchestra, directed by Peter Hallock, and featured Vernon Nicodemus, baritone, Robert Kechley, oboe, and Beverly Statter, harp.

The original manuscript is in the Thomas Merton Collection at Bellarmine University, Louisville, Kentucky.

Lyrics

Come where the grieving rivers of the night
Copy the speeches of the sea:
And hear how this devouring weather
Steals our music.
Under a tent of branches
Let grow our harps in windy trees.

But, in the flowering of our windless morning
We should be slow-paces watchmen,
Crossing, on our ecliptics, with a cry of planets,
Homesick, at the sharp rim
Of our Jerusalem, the day.

Then weep where the splendid armies of the sky
Copy the prisoner’s visions:
Yet keep the arrows of your eyes unquivered.
Light more watch fires:

Because the thieving stars may come
And steal our lives.

Score Information

Completion Date: Mar 13, 1977
© Music: Peter R. Hallock Institute; Words: New Directions Publishing Corp., New York
Composer: Peter R. Hallock
Publisher: Manuscript
Manuscript Location: University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Recording information: A Brevity, Track 1
Accompaniment:
Genre(s):
Instrumentation:

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