Je suis déshéritée Cadéac
Die Nachtigall Mendelssohn
A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square arr. Puerling
Six Chansons Hindemith
La Biche — The Doe
Un Cygne — The Swan
Puisque tous passe — Since All is Passing
Printemps — Springtime
En Hiver — In Winter
Verger — Orchard
Rainsong Bright
Inscription for a Wayside Spring Allaway
Shenendoah arr. Erb
Contrapunto Bestiale alle Mente Banchieri
Old Horatius Had a Farm
Il est bel et bon Passereau
Riddle Me This Bergsma
Answer: The Snow
Answer: The Egg
Answer: The Cow
The Tree
The Tree is But One Leaf Van Blaricum
Fireflies Clough-Leightner
The Gnat’s Wedding ed. Strimple
Tale of a Dog and A Bee Berger
Cucu, cucu del Encina
The Blue Bird Stanford
Blackbird Lennon /McCartney arr. Runswick



The nightingale is a bird that carries both literary and poetic symbolism. The nightingale sings of love, but it is also a symbol of the connection between love and death. In Romeo and Juliet the nightingale’s song signifies that the lovers will remain together, but that both are in danger of death. The nightingale in literature and poetry can represent melancholy and joy, love and loss, and life and death.

Because it sings all night long, the nightingale was once believed to be free of the need to sleep. One legend about the origin of this bird features a fickle shepherdess who keeps postponing her wedding date. Her fiancé, driven to distress and sleeplessness by her inconsistency, magically turns her into a nightingale and curses her with the same insomnia her delays have caused him.

The nightingale symbolizes different things in this concert, although each piece uses the bird to represent love: loss of love, love in a rut, and new, exciting love.

Je suis déshéritée

Pierre Cadéac (fl. 1538-56)

Je suis déshéritée,
I’m broke,
Puisque j’ai perdu mon ami.
because I lost my friend.
Seullet’ il m’a laissée,
He left me, now I’m alone,
Pleine de pleurs et de souci.
full of tears and sorrow.
Rossignol du bois joli,
Nightingale in the woods
Sans point faire demeurée,
go immediately
Va t‘en dire à mon ami
and tell my friend
Que pour lui suis tourmentée.

that I’m tormented for his sake.

Die Nachtigall

Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)

Die Nachtigall, sie war entfernt,
The nightingale, she was far away,
Der Frühling lockt sie wieder;
the spring lures her back;
Was neues hat sie nicht gelernt,
she has learned nothing new,
Singt alte liebe Lieder.
she sings the old, well-loved songs.

The Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square

arr. Gene Puerling (b. 1929)

That certain night, the night we met
There was magic abroad in the air
There were angels dining at the Ritz
And a nightingale sang in Berkley Square
I may be right, I may be wrong,
But I’m perfectly willing to swear,
That when you turned and smiled at me,
A nightingale sang in Berkley Square.
The moon that lingered over London town,
Poor puzzled moon, he wore a frown
How could he know we two were so in love,
The whole darn world seemed upside down.
The streets of town were paved with stars,
It was such a romantic affair.
And as we kissed and said goodnight,
A nightingale sang in Berkley Square.

In 1938 Paul Hindemith (1895-1963) was asked to write
a choral composition for Georges Haenni’s folk choir, Chanson Valaisanne.
Hindemith chose poems by Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) for this commission
and entitled them, Six Chansons. These were completed in 1939. Inspired
by the countryside of Valais, the German poet Rilke wrote his ode to nature
in French. Rife with lessons on what humanity may learn from observing the
creatures and inhabitants of the outdoors, these poems are indicative of
how the natural world inspired Rilke. In a letter to a young poet, penned
in 1903, Rilke wrote, “So, dear Sir, I can’t give you any advice but
this: to go into yourself and see how deep the place is from which your
life flows; at its source you will find the answer to the question whether
you must create. Accept that answer, just as it is given to you, without
trying to interpret it. Perhaps you will discover that you are called to
be an artist. Then take the destiny upon yourself, and bear it, its burden
and its greatness, without ever asking what reward might come from outside.
For the creator must be a world for himself and must find everything in
himself and in Nature, to whom his whole life is devoted.”

The English translation, in which we sing these works
tonight, endeavors to be a poetic translation, sometimes masking the true
meaning of the poetry Rilke wrote. So included in these notes are the original
French and two translations; a literal translation of the French (by Grant
E. Hicks), followed by the poetic translation by Elaine de Sinçay,
which you will hear us sing.

La Biche — The Doe

O la biche; quel bel intérieur
O doe, what lovely ancient forest
d’anciennes forêts dans tes yeux abonde;
depths abound in your eyes;
combien de confiance ronde
how much open trust
mêlée à combien de peur.
mixed with how much fear.
Tout cela, porté par la vive
All this, borne by the brisk
gracilité de tes bonds.
gracility of your bounds.
Mais jamais rien n’arrive
But nothing ever disturbs
à cette impossessive
that unpossessive
ignorance de ton front.
unawareness of your brow.

O thou doe, what vistas of secular forest appear in thine eyes reflected
What confidence serene affected by transient shades of fear.
And it all is borne on thy bounding course, for so gracile art thou.
Nor comes aught to astound the impassive profound unawareness of thy brow.

Un Cygne — The Swan

Un cygne avance sur l’eau
A swan advances over the water
tout entouré de lui-même
all wrapped up in itself
comme un glissant tableau;
like a gliding tableau.
ainsi à certains instants
Thus at certain moments
un être que l’on aime
a being that one loves
est tout un espace mouvant.
seems just like a moving space.
Il se rapproche doublé
He draws near, doubled
comme ce cygne qui nage
like that swan who swims
sur notre âme troublée …
across our troubled soul,
qui à cet être ajoute
who adds to this being
la tremblante image
the trembling image
de bonheur et de doute.
of happiness and of doubt.

A swan is breasting the flow
All in himself enfolded
Like a slow-moving tableau.
And so at some time or place,
A loved one will be molded.
To seem like a migrating space.
Will near us floating redoubled
As a swan on the river.
Upon our soul so troubled.
Which swells it by the addition
Of a wraith aquiver.
With delight and suspicion.

Puisque tous passe — Since All is Passing

Puisque tout passe, faisons
Since everything passes,
la mélodie passagère;

let us make fleeting melody;
celle qui nous désaltère
the one that refreshes us
aura de nous raison.

will get the better of us.
Chantons ce qui nous quitte
Let us sing that which is leaving us
avec amour et art,
with love and art;
soyons plus vite
let us be quicker
que le rapide départ.
than its swift departure.

Since all is passing retain
The melodies that wander by us
That which assuages when nigh us
Shall alone remain.
Let us sing what will leave us
With our love and art.
Ere it can grieve us,
Let us the sooner depart.

Printemps — Springtime

O mélodie de la sève
O melody of the sap
qui dans les instruments
that rises in the instruments
de tous ces arbres s’élève,
of all these trees,
accompagne le chant
accompany the song
de notre voix trop brève.
of our too-short voices.
C’est pendant quelques mesures
It is only for a few measures
seulement que nous suivons
that we follow
les multiples figures
the manifold figurations
de ton long abandon,
of your long abandon,
ô abondante nature.
O abundant nature.
Quand il faudra nous taire
When it comes time for us to fall silent
d’autres continueront …
others will carry on …
Mais à présent comment faire
But for now what can I do
pour te rendre mon
to make my whole heart
grand coeur complémentaire?
a complement to you?

O song that from the sap art pouring
And through the sounding board of all this greenwood art soaring
Amplify our brief tone,
The dying strain restoring.
‘Tis but few measures’ duration
That we share the fantasy,
The endless variation
Of thy long ecstasy,
O nature, fount of creation.
After our song is ended,
Others will assume the part,
But meanwhile how can I tender
Unto thee all my heart in full surrender.

En Hiver — In Winter

En hiver, la mort meurtrière
In Winter, murderous Death
entre dans les maisons;
comes into the houses,
elle cherche la soeur, le père
seeks out sister and father
et leur joue du violon.
and plays to them on the fiddle.
Mais quand la terre remue,
But when the earth turns
sous la bêche du printemps,
under Springtime’s spade
la mort court dans les rues
Death runs through the streets
et salue les passants.
and greets the passers-by.

With the winter, Death, grisly guest
Through the doorway steals in
Both the young and the old to quest,
And he plays them his violin.
But when the Spring’s spades are beating
Frozen earth beneath blue sky,
The Death his way goes fleeting,
Lightly greeting passersby.

Verger – Orchard

Jamais la terre n’est plus réelle
Never is the earth more solid than
que dans tes branches, ô verger blond,
in your branches, O fair orchard,
Ni plus flottante que dans la dentelle
Nor more floating than in the lacework
que font les ombres sur le gazon.
the shadows make upon the grass.
Là se rencontre ce qui nous reste,
There we meet what remains to us,
ce qui pèse et ce qui nourrit,
what has weight and nourishes us,
avec le passage manifeste
along with the manifest passing
de la tendresse infinie.
of infinite tenderness.
Mais à ton centre la calme fontaine,
But at your heart the calm fountain,
presque dormant en son ancien rond,
almost asleep in its ancient circle,
de ce contraste parle à peine,
speaks hardly at all of these contrasts,
tant en elle il se confond.
so much are they mixed up in it.

The earth is nowhere so real a presence
As mid thy branches
O orchard blond
And nowhere so airy as here in the pleasance
Of lacy shadows on grassy pond.
There we encounter that which we quested,
That which sustains us and nourishes life
And with it the passage manifested
Of tenderness undying.
But at thy center the spring’s limpid waters,
Almost asleep in the fountain’s heart,
Of this strange contrast scarce have taught us
Since of them it is so truly part.

Water can be an allegory for many things, depending on what form it takes.
Water as rain can be cleansing or foreboding; a sign of grief and loss or
renewal. Creeks and springs can signify refreshment of body and soul. Rivers
can be allegories for the sanctity of home and things remaining as they
are or for barriers separating two different realms. In Bright’s “Rainsong”
the rain is a symbol of the author’s grief over a lost loved one. In
Allaway’s “Inscription for a Wayside Spring,” water is a
force of reviviscence, and in “Shenandoah,” water is a symbol
of home.


Houston Bright (b. 1916)

Clouds hang heavy above the plain
They bring the smell of a summer rain,
And my heart, it is heavy too,
And my spirits are heavy too.
(See how the rains do pour as if forevermore.)

Clouds drift low in a shadowed spell
They bring the memory of one farewell,
When a spirit from life withdrew,
When the soul of my love withdrew.
(See how the rains do pour as if forevermore.)

Raindrops fall from a sodden sky
They drum a querulous lullaby
As in memory of one who sleeps,
As if crooning to one who sleeps.
(See how the rains do pour as if forevermore.)

Inscription for a Wayside Spring

Ben Allaway (b. 1958)

All men from all lands kneel before you go
Cup your hands like a bowl
Let me overflow
Read what these words tell,
Lean down and know
Each one beside my brink
Bend down low;
Lost son, sad daughter bend down and drink.
I am the water of the well that makes men whole.
I am the cold water that restores your soul.


arr. Erb

O Shenandoah, I long to see you
And hear your rolling river
O Shenandoah, I long to see you
‘Way, we’re bound away Across the wide Missouri

I long to see your smiling valley
And hear your rolling river
I long to see your smiling valley
‘Way, we’re bound away
Across the wide Missouri

‘Tis seven long years since last I see thee
And hear your rolling river
‘Tis seven long years since last I see thee
‘Way, we’re bound away
Across the wide Missouri

Contrapunto Bestiale alle Mente

Adriano Banchieri (1568 -1634)


This is an odd little madrigal with no translation. All voice
parts make animal noises while the bass sings a cantus firmus in a language
that is familiar and, at the same time, completely unidentifiable and untranslatable.
And that is what happens when, as the title translates, the Animals Improvise


The farm; nature under human control. Z. Randall Stroope’s (b.1953)
Old Horatius Had a Farm is a twist on the children’s song “Old
MacDonald.” Stroope’s version describes all the animals and their
sounds but, for added gravity, the text is in a scholarly, serious Latin
translation by Samuel A. Goldberg

Passereau’s oft-performed “Il est bel et bon” has little
to do farm animals, really. A conversation between wives, it is a chanson
about competition that quickly escalates into farm-bird-like cackling and
clucking. And, of course, double entendre, because what is a French chanson
without innuendo?

Il est bel et bon

Pierre Passereau (d. 1547)

Il est bel et bon, commère, mon mari.
My husband is handsome and good, you busybody!
Il etaient deux femmes toutes d’un pays.
There were two women from the same town
Disans l’une à l’outre:
Saying to each other,
Avez bon mari?
“Do you have a good husband?”
Il est bel et bon, commère, mon mari.
My husband is handsome and good, you busybody!
Il ne me courousse ne me bat aussi;
He doesn’t get angry with me or beat me.
Il fait le ménage,
He does the housekeeping
Il donne aux poulailles
he feeds the hens;
Et je prens mes plaisirs.
and I take my pleasures
Commère, c’est pour rire
It’s something to laugh about,
Quant les poulailles crient
when the hens cry
Co co co co co dac
Petite coquete, qu’est cecy?
“Little coquette, what’s this?”
Il est bel et bon, commère, mon mari.
My husband is handsome and good, you busybody!

In 1629 a pamphlet entitled “The Booke of Meery Riddles, together
with proper Questions and witty Prouerbs to make pleasant pastime, no lesse
usefull than behoouefull for any yong man or child to know if he be quick-witted,
or no”
was printed in London. Although no earlier copy of the pamphlet
exists, scholars have proved that the “Meery Booke” goes
back to the year 1575 and that it was known to Shakespeare. The origin of
the concept of a “riddle” goes back much farther than that. The
earliest riddle of our Western world is the riddle of the Sphinx posed in
Greek literature to Oedipus who correctly guessed it: What is that which
walks on four legs in the morning, two at noon and three in the evening?
The answer is—Man, who crawls as a baby in the morning of his life,
walks upright at noon and totters on a cane in old age. Thankfully, riddles
show no sign of fading into oblivion in our new world of lost oral traditions:
an old English riddle “It runs up the hill and runs down the hill,
but in spite of all it still stands still” is still known today, “What
goes from Lawrence to Kansas City without moving?” The answer to both:
the road. William Bergsma’s (1921-1994) fanciful setting of three traditional
“riddles,” with answers from nature, is rarely performed but taps
into man’s fascination with clever confusion.

Answer: The Snow

White bird featherless
Flown from Paradise,
Onto the castle wall;
Along came Lord Landless,
Took it up handless,
Rode away horseless
To the King’s white hall.

Answer: The Egg

In marble halls as white as milk,
Lined with a skin as soft as silk,
Within a fountain crystal-clear,
A golden apple doth appear.
No doors there are to this stronghold,
Yet thieves break in and steal my gold.


Answer: The Cow

Four stiff standers,
Four dilly-danders,
Two lookers,
Two crookers,
And a wig-wag!

American Transcendentalism defies neat definition; a loose collection of
eclectic ideas about literature, philosophy, religion, social reform and
the general state of American culture, transcendentalism had different meanings
for each person involved in the movement. The Encyclopedia Britannica
encapsulates the flailing and messy “ism” as follows:

19th-century movement of writers and philosophers in New
England who were loosely bound together by adherence to an idealistic system
of thought based on a belief in the essential unity of all creation, the
innate goodness of man, and the supremacy of insight over logic and experience
for the revelation of the deepest truths

Transcendentalists were well-educated people attempting to create a uniquely
American body of literature, different from anything from England, France,
Germany or any other European nation. They also struggled to define spirituality
and religion in a way that took into account the new understandings and
developments of their pre-Civil War time. Major authors tagged with the
label “transcendentalist” were Emerson and Thoreau.

Transcendentalists viewed Nature as awe-inspiring, all-powerful and full
of dangerous beauty. Although nature can be cruel, it can also revive the
soul, help one recapture innocence. This is the crux of the two transcendentalist
tree poems on the program. Jones Very (1813-1880) has been described as
a transcendental madman, but his eloquent ode to a tree is simple and lovely.
Set by Greg Bartholomew, the piece wanders as one’s mind ought to while
lying under a beautiful arbor, contemplating life.

“The Tree is But One Leaf” is a round setting of excerpted text
from Thoreau’s Walden. Composer Jay Van Blaricum writes, “The
text is; a paraphrase of a statement from Chapter 17: “The whole tree
itself is but one leaf, and rivers are still vaster leaves whose pulp is
intervening earth, and towns and cities are the ova of insects in their
axils.” In its original context, this sentence is the culmination of
a series of examples that Thoreau believed demonstrated the universality
of leaves and their role in the symbolic rebirth of spring. He saw the leaf’s
form and function not only physically present in plant life, but metaphorically
manifested in atoms, internal organs, human speech, bird feathers and wings,
ice crystals and the earth itself. Taken alone, the text represents the
surface of the earth as indistinguishable from the surface of a leaf, evoking
a powerful, humbling characterization of human civilization and suggesting
we are no more entitled to our presence on the earth than insects. As the
imagery of the text builds in scale, the round’s texture changes and
builds with each additional entrance. The earthy, mysterious quality of
the Phrygian mode supports the text’s simplicity and underlying import.”

The Tree

Greg Bartholomew (b. 1957)

I love thee when thy swelling buds appear,
And one by one their tender leaves unfold,
As if they knew that warmer suns were near,
Nor longer sought to hide from winter’s cold;

And when with darker growth thy leaves are seen
To veil from view the early robin’s nest,
I love to lie beneath thy waving screen,
With limbs by summer’s heat and toil oppress’d;

And when the autumn winds have stript thee bare,
And round thee lies the smooth, untrodden snow,
When naught is thine that made thee once so fair,
I love to watch thy shadowy form below,
And through thy leafless arms to look above
On stars that brighter beam when most we need their love.

The Tree is But One Leaf

Van Blaricum (b. 1978)

The tree is but one leaf.
Rivers, still vaster leaves.
Their pulp is earth.
Towns, insect ova in their axils.

Onward to the annoying bug section. The first piece is an innocuous arrangement,
with an equally innocuous translated text, of a Russian folksong about fireflies,
which we perform with one of our patented Octari-twists. The second piece,
a Czech folksong, has a bit more import and consequence due to its origin
in the concentration camp of Terezín. Despite, or perhaps because
of, the sober history behind this simple round, performing it, as well as
hearing it performed, uplifts the soul. Jean Berger’s “Tale of
a Dog and A Bee” continues in the light-hearted refrain, describing
what happens when one confuses a fly with a bee.


arr. Clough-Leightner

When the purple evening shadows
Darken over grassy meadows
Settle down on dewy meadows
Where the daisies grow.

When the silent starts are brightening
Then like sparks of tiny lightening
Vivid sparks of harmless lightening,
Swarms of fireflies go.

In the dark entrancing, glancing,
As if living stars were dancing,
As if twinkling stars came dancing
Thousands of them there.

Every merry little fellow
Bears a lamp of greenish yellow
Soft and cool and bright and mellow,
Gleaming in the air.

The Gnat’s Wedding

ed. Strimple

Koma_i se _enili, Tro_ku vína nem_li
Gnats were getting married, they didn’t have a drop of wine.
P_ileteltam slavi_ek, p_ines vína _eidlí_ek.
A lark came and brought a little bottle.

Tale of a Dog and A Bee

Jean Berger (1909-2002)

Great big dog, head upon his toes.
Tiny little bee settles on his nose.
Great big dog thinks it is a fly.
Never says a word, winks very sly.
Tiny little bee, tickles dog’s nose.
Thinks like as not ‘tis a pretty rose.
Dog smiles a smile, winks his other eye,
Chuckles to himself how he’ll catch a fly.
Then he makes a snap, very quick and spry.
Does his level best but doesn’t catch the fly.
Tiny little bee, alive and looking well.
Great big dog mostly gone to swell.

Dear friends and brothers all
Don’t be too fast and free
And when you catch a fly
Be sure it’s not a bee.

We close as we began; with music of birds. First Encina’s playful
“Cucu, cucu.” Like the French chanson, the Spanish villancico
tends towards text with innuendo and this example is blatantly exemplary
of textual entendre. Stanford’s “The Bluebird” is a partsong
setting of a simple yet powerful text by Mary Coleridge (1861-1907) describing
blue hues of a bird, the sky, and the reflection of both in a lake. The
Beatles song “Blackbird” seems simple enough on its surface, but
McCartney has recently claimed that it was written as a metaphor for the
civil rights movement. Because in England women are often referred to as
“birds,” this song can be interpreted as a plea for black women
to keep the faith. However the piece was intended initially, a more general
reading is for each of us to find the positive within the negative and never
give up.

Cucu, cucu

Juan del Encina (1468-1529)

Cucu cucu!
Guarda no lo seas tú.

Be mindful of the bird’s song
Compadre debes saber,
Friend, you must know
que la más buena mujer,
that the best woman
rabia siempre por hoder,
Is constantly raging
harta bien la tuya tú.
To be consoled by you
Compadre has de guardar,
So, friend, you must keep on
para nunca encornudar,
And never give up
si tu mujer sale a mear,
If your woman leaves to piss
sal junto con ella tú.
She’ll take your salt along with her.

The Bluebird

C.V. Stanford (1852-1924)

The lake lay blue below the hill,
O’er it, as I looked, there flew
Across the waters, cold and still,
A bird whose wings were palest blue.

The sky above was blue at last,
The sky beneath me blue in blue,
A moment, ere the bird had passed,
It caught his image as he flew.


Lennon (1940-1980)/McCartney (b. 1942)
arr. Runswick

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free.

Blackbird fly into the light of the dark black night.