Thursday, February 26, 2009

About the poet - Edmund Waller

Hilarious reading about Edmund Waller, poet of Go Lovely Rose. Source here.

Read it:

Waller was a 17th-century English country gentleman, a rentier and Member of Parliament, who lived through all the momentous events of the middle of that century, of which the most memorable were the Civil War between king and parliament through the 1640s, climaxing with the trial and execution of King Charles I in 1649. Waller seems to have been a royalist by inclination, but got along well enough with the parliamentarians until 1643, when he was involved in a plot against them. He escaped with his life by ratting on all his friends, but had to leave the country for several years. He was allowed back at last by Oliver Cromwell, to whom he was related through his mother's family. Waller repaid Cromwell with a gushing panegyric poem. Then, after the monarchy was restored in 1660, Waller wrote equally gushing verses in praise of Charles II.

Waller's attachments to women are described drily in Samuel Johnson's Lives of the Poets:

Rich as he was by inheritance, he took care early to grow richer, by marrying Mrs. Banks, a great heiress in the city... Having brought him a son, who died young, and a daughter, who was afterwards married to Mr. Dormer, of Oxfordshire, she died in childbed, and left him a widower of about five-and-twenty, gay and wealthy, to please himself with another marriage.

Being too young to resist beauty, and probably too vain to think himself resistible, he fixed his heart, perhaps half fondly and half ambitiously, upon the lady Dorothea Sidney, eldest daughter of the Earl of Leicester... His acquaintance with this high-born dame gave wit no opportunity of boasting its influence; she was not to be subdued by the powers of verse, but rejected his addresses, it is said, with disdain... She married in 1639 the Earl of Sunderland, who died at Newbury in the king's cause; and, in her old age, meeting somewhere with Waller, asked him, when he would again write such verses upon her. "When you are as young, Madam," said he, "and as handsome as you were then."

When he had lost all hope of [her], he looked round him for an easier conquest, and gained a lady of the family of Bresse, or Breaux. ... It has not been discovered that his wife was won by his poetry; nor is anything told of her, but that she brought him many children. He doubtless praised some whom he would have been afraid to marry, and perhaps married one whom he would have been ashamed to praise. Many qualities contribute to domestic happiness, upon which poetry has no colours to bestow; and many airs and sallies may delight imagination, which he who flatters them never can approve. There are charms made only for distant admiration. No spectacle is nobler than a blaze.

"Go, Lovely Rose" was written in the poet's youth, probably in the late 1620s. It was published in his first collection of poems in 1645. It is a perfect little lyric poem, which stands out the more for having been written when English poetry was going through something of a dry spell, when it seems that little could grow in the tremendous shadow of John Milton.

Go Lovely Rose

GO, lovely Rose—

Tell her that wastes her time and me,
That now she knows,
When I resemble her to thee,
How sweet and fair she seems to be.

Tell her that 's young,
And shuns to have her graces spied,
That hadst thou sprung
In deserts where no men abide,
Thou must have uncommended died.

Small is the worth
Of beauty from the light retired:
Bid her come forth,
Suffer herself to be desired,
And not blush so to be admired.

Then die—that she
The common fate of all things rare
May read in thee;
How small a part of time they share
That are so wondrous sweet and fair!

A nice interpretation found here:

The love lyric "Go Lovely Rose " by Edmund Waller (1606-87) is a fervent plea by the speaker to his extremely shy and withdrawn lover who "shuns to have her graces espied," to come out into the open so that he can praise her beauty.

The second and third stanzas do not contain any similes which compare the lover and the rose. However, the speaker personifies the rose as his messenger to advocate and plead his cause to his bashful lover. He instructs the rose to tell his lover that if he (the rose) had bloomed in a desert where there are no people, then it would have withered and died without anyone praising its beauty. So, he asks the rose to tell her to come out into the open so that he can admire and praise her beauty, because beauty which is hidden from the eyes of men has very little or no value at all, "Small is the worth/Of beauty from the light retired."

The poet exploits two characteristics of the rose to drive home his argument: the rose is a beautiful flower, but at the same time its beauty will last only for a short period of time ("How small a part of time") before it withers and dies. Similarly, the beauty of his lover, like that of the rose's is only temporary and there is no point in keeping it hidden. She must come out into the open so that her beauty can be admired and enjoyed.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Wow what a night

You were fabulous tonight.

Dr. Staheli said he wanted to stand and applaud after Os Justi . . . I think we embraced what he told us today!

He's quite a guy, isn't he?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

NATS Congratulations to Jessica and Charles

I heard Jessica and Charles sing in the NATS finals held at Samford University last night. They both represented us very well and came away with awards:

Jessica Johnson, 2nd Place, Freshmen Women
Charles Daniel, 3rd Place, Freshmen Men

I hope more of our students get involved in the NATS competition next year. We've got tons of talent here at UAB and it's time everyone else knew about it.

Friday, February 20, 2009

more bass, please

Sweater Vest Alert


I am wearing a sweater vest today and claim the privilege as exclusive only to me.

I'd hate for this to happen again:

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Consecrate this place and day

Consecrate the place and day,
To music and Cecilia.
Let no rough winds approach, nor dare
Invade the hallowed bounds,
Nor rudely shake the tuneful air,

Nor spoil the fleeting sounds.
Nor mournful sigh nor groan be heard,
But gladness dwell on every tongue ;
Whilst all, with voice and strings prepared,
Keep up the loud harmonious song,
And imitate the blest above,
In joy, and harmony, and love.

--Joseph Addison (1672-1719)

Program for South Highland, March 1

Here's what I anticipate us doing for the South Highland Concert on Sunday, March 1 (late afternoon performance)

UAB Concert Choir:

Consecrate the place and day
(Lloyd Pfautsch) (1921-2003)
NOTE: We'll probably start this one tomorrow.

Os Justi
(Anton Bruckner)

Glory be to God
Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)

József Karai (b. 1927)
Kiyoshi Scissum, tenor

O sacrum convivium
Vytautas Miskinis (b. 1954)

Beautiful River
William Hawley (b. 1950)

Little David Play
Ken Berg

Memory Tests

Here's the schedule I announced in class yesterday:

Thursday, February 12: Os Justi, m. 17-42
Friday, February 13: Os Justi - all

Wednesday, February 18: Roses Nod
Friday, February 20: If I Had

Recordings on Blackboard


Four recordings of Os Justi are on Blackboard to assist you in memorization. Different choirs, different tempos.

Link to blackboard here
. Sign in with your Blazer ID and look for the class.

Look here for "Three Choral Ballads".
I think we'll be doing all three this semester but here they are all together. Will get "Roses" by itself soon.

UPDATE: Roses nod
UPDATE3: September

Monday, February 09, 2009

No choir today

Neither choir meets today . . . but will resume tomorrow! Enjoy your rare break.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Saturday, February 07, 2009

email from g. luboff

Dear Ken, dear Philip,

Just wanted you to know that my morning aerobics are being re-instituted! And y'all helped....

This morning I took your recording of 'Little David, Play!' to the stereo with good speakers to played the find out which of the tracks to pick. I am still not sure, but think that Track 1 is a touch 'crisper' especially in the transition to the brassy section. Any input is welcome from either or both of you.

But my email is also about that nobody born by woman can sit still and listen to this track! It rocks and swings and had me going for 4 x 2'25" - a good 9 minute warm up. So from now on you both have contributed substantially to my well-being and JOY! (Don't forget your are dealing with an old big band jazz fan here...- the whole thing reminds me of the annual touring concerts in Stockholm in the 50's with Basie, Ellington, Kenton, MJQ, Dizzie, Miles Ella, Sarah and more. I heard them all, year after year!)

Actually, I can not be the only one to react like this, there must be a new generation for big band swing - which poses two questions:

Ken, do you have any interest in finding other public domain songs and give them the 'big band twist'? I would certainly be interested.

Philip, this would be the given follow up for recordings, since you have now definitely warmed up your choir to this great sound. The bending of the notes is just sweet... good job.

I look forward to seeing you both soon in OKC, but perhaps you two would want to talk for a minute about this before then, to see if you think there is any life in this proposal?

Whatever happens, you have made me a happy girl and, as I said, my morning aerobics are now in full swing. Have a nice weekend and let me know what you think, separately of together!


Rigor redefined

An article I want to study later . . .

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Little David

I'll have more of the recording session soon, but for now:

Little David - Take 1

Little David - Take 2

Soloist: Anthony Concepcion
Diva quartet: Meredith Foster, Jackie Roche, Madison Holler, Erin Fledderman

Note to visitors of this blog . . . this is a recording done for Walton Music of a piece by Ken Berg that will appear on their upcoming 2009-2010 CD, catalog, and website.