Sunday’s Outlander episode reminded me of how much I love Samuel Barber’s music. It also completely yanked me out of the story, so that was unfortunate. But back to Samuel Barber. I never met a suspension I didn’t love—let alone open fourths and fifths—so his music always grips, moves, and transports me to that place only the arts can take you. So if you loved Adagio for Strings, listen to this and follow Agee’s text here (which he wrote in ninety minutes).
Knoxville: Summer of 1915 Music by Samuel Barber Text by James Agee Recording: Renée Fleming, Soprano Aspen Festival, Lawrence Foster, conductor, Aug. 21, 1993
One of the things I love about Christmas is music like this.
“Sea Song” by Norah Mary Holland (1876-1925); Gwyneth Van Anden Walker, Composer
I will go down to the sea again, to the waste of waters, wild and wide;
I am tired–so tired–of hill and plain and the dull tame face of the country-side.
I will go out across the bar, with a swoop like the flight of a sea-bird’s wings,
To where the winds and the waters are, with their multitudinous thunderings.
My prow shall furrow the whitening sea, out into the teeth of the lashing wind,
Where a thousand billows snarl and flee and break in a smother of foam behind.
O strong and terrible Mother Sea, let me lie once more on your cool white breast,
Your winds have blown through the heart of me and called me back from the land’s dull rest.
For night by night they blow through my sleep, the voice of waves through my slumber rings,
I feel the spell of the steadfast deep; I hear its tramplings and triumphings.
And at last when my hours of life are sped let them make me no grave by hill or plain,
Thy waves, O Mother, shall guard my head; I will go down to my sea again.
The hero and heroine are spending the night in a monastery. Time for vespers.