when faces called flowers float out of the ground

Instrumentation/Voicing: 
SATB a cappella

Floating flowers, climbing fish, diving birds - only e. e. cummings could create such a spring! This playful musical setting is as buoyant as the poem, full of surprising modulations, metric variety and a few amorous asides. (Note: "when faces called flowers float out of the ground" is the middle movement of the larger work, "Spring Revels.") Winner of the Brookline Chorus Composition Competition.

Audio: 

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Order Sheet Music
Catalog Number: 
SEA-006-02
Duration: 
3:00
Commissioned By: 
Festival Choir of Madison. Madison, WI
Premiere
Premiere Conductor: 
Eric Townell
Awards: 

Winner, Brookline Chorus Composition Competition

Performances: 

Minnesota Oratorio Society; George Chu, conductor. Saint Paul, MN
College Hill Singers; G. Roberts Kolb, conductor. Hamilton College, Clinton, NY

Text
Text Author or Source: 
e. e. cummings
Language: 
English
Text: 

"when faces called flowers float out of the ground"
Poem by e.e. cummings

when faces called flowers float out of the ground
and breathing is wishing and wishing is having -
but keeping is downward and doubting and never
- it's april (yes,april;my darling)it's spring!
yes the pretty birds frolic as spry as can fly
yes the little fish gambol as glad as can be
(yes the mountains are dancing together)

when every leaf opens without any sound
and wishing is having and having is giving -
but keeping is doting and nothing and nonsense
- alive;we're alive,dear:it's(kiss me now)spring!
now the pretty birds hover so she and so he
now the little fish quiver so you and so i
(now the mountains are dancing,the mountains)

when more than was lost has been found has been found
and having is giving and giving is living -
but keeping is darkness and winter and cringing
- it's spring(all our night becomes day)o, it's spring!
all the pretty birds dive to the heart of the sky
all the little fish climb through the mind of the sea
(all the mountains are dancing;are dancing)

"when faces called flowers float out of the ground," from Complete Poems, 1904-1962, by E.E. Cummings, edited by George J. Firmage. Used with the permission of Liveright Publishing Corporation.

Copyright 1923, 1925, 1926, 1931, 1935, 1938, 1939, 1940 and 1944-1962 by E. E. Cummings.

Copyright 1961, 1963, 1966, 1967, 1968 by Marion Morehouse Cummings.

Copyright 1972-1991 by the Trustees for the E.E. Cummings Trust. Reprinted by permission.