Eternal Winter

Instrumentation/Voicing: 
SATB, sop solo, vc, pno; also avail. as SSAA

The context for this visceral setting of the poem "Holy Thursday" from Blake's "Songs of Experience" is the annual Ascension Thursday service at St Paul's Cathedral; orphaned children from London's charity schools sang as they were paraded into St Paul's for religious services. Blake views "rich and fruitful" 19th c. Britain as a "land of poverty," and the future of these orphans as an "eternal winter." Both stark and achingly tender, the music underscores the harsh "eternal winter" with dramatic soprano solo," phrase repetition and expressive writing for cello.

Perusal Score: 
Audio: 

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Order Sheet Music
Catalog Number: 
VMP004 (SATB)
Catalog Number: 
VMP005 (SSAA)
Duration: 
3:45
Total Pages: 
8
Commissioned By: 
Regional Arts and Culture Council
Premiere
Premiere Date: 
10/16/2002
Premiere Ensemble: 
A Choral Conspiracy (satb)
Premiere Conductor: 
Joan Szymko
Text
Text Author or Source: 
William Blake (1757-1827), from "Songs of Experience" (1794)
Language: 
English
Text: 

Is this a holy thing to see,
In a rich and fruitful land,
Babes reduced to misery,
Fed with cold and usurous hand?

Is that trembling cry a song?
Can it be a song of joy?
And so many children poor?
It is a land of poverty!

And their sun does never shine.
And their fields are bleak & bare.
And their ways are filled with thorns.
It is eternal winter there.