Love Songs (1998) for soprano and piano.

Thomas Oboe Lee

About this work:

LOVE SONGS (1998) Poems by Gorges, Dickinson, Rossetti and Booth.

Commissioned by Peter Papesch for his wife, Barbara.

1. [This] Face by Arthur Gorges (1557-1625)

This face - This tongue - His wit

so fair - so sweet - so sharp

first bent - then drew - then hit

mine eye - mine ear - my heart

Mine eye - Mine ear - My heart

to like - to learn - to love

his face - his tongue - his wit

doth lead - doth teach - doth move

This face - This tongue - His wit

with beams - with sound - with art

doth blind - doth charm - doth knit

mine eye - mine ear - my heart

Mine eye - Mine ear - My heart

with life - with hope - with skill

his face - his tongue - his wit

doth feed - doth feast - doth fill

O face - O tongue - O wit

with frowns - with checks - with smart

wrong not - vex not - wound not

mine eye - mine ear - my heart

This eye - This ear - This heart

shall joy - shall yield - shall swear

his face - his tongue - his wit

to serve - to trust - to fear


2. Love Thou Art High by Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

Love - thou art high -

I cannot climb thee -

But, were it Two -

Who knows but we -

Taking turns - at the Chimborazo -

Ducal - at last - stand up by thee -

Love - thou art deep -

I cannot cross thee -

But, were there Two -

Instead of One -

Rower, and Yacht - some sovereign Summer -

Who knows - but we'd reach the Sun?

Love - thou art Veiled -

A few - behold thee -

Smile - and alter - and prattle - and die -

Bliss - were an Oddity - without thee -

Nicknamed by God -

Eternity -


3. A Birthday by Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

My heart is like a singing bird

Whose nest is in a water'd shoot;

My heart is like an apple-tree

Whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit;

My heart is like a rainbow shell

That paddles in a halcyon sea;

My heart is gladder than all these

Because my love is come to me.

Raise me a dais of silk and down;

Hang it with vair and purple dyes;

Carve it in doves and pomegranates,

And peacocks with a hundred eyes;

Work it in gold and silver grapes,

In leaves and silver fleur-de-lys;

Because the birthday of my life Is come,

my love is come to me.


4. Pairs by Philip Booth (born, 1925)

Years now, good days

more than half the year,

they row late afternoons

out through the harbor

to the bell, a couple

with gray hair, an old

green rowboat. Given sun,

their four oars, stroke

by stroke, glint wet,

so far away that even

in light air their

upwind voices barely

carry. No words translate

to us on shore, more

than a mile from where

they pull and feather.

All we hear is how,

like seaducks, they

seem constantly to

murmur. And even

after summer's gone,

as they row out or

home, now and again

we hear, we cannot help

but hear, their years

of tidal laughter.

Year composed: 1998
Duration: 00:12:00
Ensemble type: Unspecified Instrument(s)
Instrumentation: 1 Piano, 1 Soprano

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