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Singing in the Northland, Volume 1
Martha Hill Duncan

voice, piano

Secular

The Brook in February
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(performed by Elizabeth McDonald, soprano; Kathryn Tremills, piano)

A Child's Prayer at Evening

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(performed by Elizabeth McDonald, soprano; Kathryn Tremills, piano)

Daisy Time
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(performed by Marion Newman, mezzo; Kathryn Tremills, piano)

Life
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(performed by Elizabeth McDonald, soprano; Kathryn Tremills, piano)

Quiet
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(performed by Marion Newman, mezzo; Kathryn Tremills, piano)

The Star
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(performed by Elizabeth McDonald, soprano; Kathryn Tremills, piano)

The Dustman (2 sopranos and piano)
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(performed by Elizabeth McDonald, soprano; Marion Newman, mezzo; Kathryn Tremills, piano)

$25.00 for 2 copies of the volume



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Notes:

"My inspiration for Singing in the Northland began in 1998 when my daughter Claire was about twelve years old. Her voice teacher, Dr. Nadia Izbitskaya, lamented the lack of expressive contemporary vocal music for young singers and presented me with the challenge of writing for my own daughter. As a transplanted Texan, living in Canada, I decided to concentrate on Canadian poetry and the first song I wrote was “Quiet,” with poetry by Marjorie Pickthall. The others in the collection followed over the years as my daughter grew up and continued singing. This collection is dedicated to Claire for her patience, humour, insights and moreover, her beautiful and expressive voice."
- Martha Hill Duncan, 2008

Texts:

The Brook in February

A snowy path for squirrel and fox,
It winds between the wintry firs.
Snow-muffled are its iron rocks,
And o’er its stillness nothing stirs.

But low, bend low a listening ear!
Beneath the mask of moveless white
A babbling whisper you shall hear
Of birds and blossoms, leaves and light.
- Charles G.D. Roberts (1860-1943)

A Child’s Prayer at Evening

(Domine, cui sunt Pleiades curae)
Father, who keepest
The stars in Thy care,
Me, too, Thy little one,
Childish in prayer,
Keep, as Thou keepest
The soft night through,
Thy long, white lilies
Asleep in Thy dew.
- Charles G.D. Roberts (1860-1943)


Daisy Time

See, the grass is full of stars,
Fallen in their brightness;
Hearts they have of shining gold,
Rays of shining whiteness.

Buttercups have honeyed hearts,
Bees they love the clover,
But I love the daisies’ dance
All the meadow over.

Blow, O blow, you happy winds,
Singing summer’s praises,
Up the field and down the field
A-dancing with the daisies.
- Marjorie Pickthall (1833-1922)


Life

(After the French)
O Life, how slight!
A little sweet,
A brief delight,
And then – we meet!

O Life, how vain!
A little spite,
A little pain,
And then – good-night!
- Charles G. D. Roberts


Quiet

Come not the earliest petal here, but only
Wind, cloud, and star,
Lovely and far,
Make it less lonely.

Few are the feet that seek her here, but sleeping
Thoughts sweet as flowers
Linger for hours,
Things winged, yet weeping.

Here in the immortal empire of the grasses,
Time, like one wrong
Note in a song,
With their bloom, passes.
- Marjorie Pickthall


The Star

I think God sang when He had made
A bough of apple bloom,
And placed it close against the sky
To whiten in the gloom.

But, oh, when He had hung a star
Above a blue, blue hill,
I think God in His ecstasy
Was startled . . . and was still.
- Beatrice Redpath


The Dustman


“Dustman, dustman!’
Through the deserted square he cries,
And babies put their rosy fists
Into their eyes.

There’s nothing out of No-man’s-land
So drowsy since the world began,
As “Dustman, dustman,
Dustman.”

He goes his village round at dusk
From door to door, from day to day;
And when the children hear his step
They stop their play.

“Dustman, dustman!”
Far up the street he is descried,
And soberly the twilight games
Are laid aside.

“Dustman, dustman!’
There, Drowsyhead, the old refrain,
“Dustman, dustman!”
It goes again.

Dustman, dustman
Hurry by and let me sleep.
When most I wish for you to come,
You always creep.

Dustman, dustman,
And when I want to play some more,
You never then are farther off
Than the next door.

“Dustman, dustman!”
He beckles down the echoing curb,
A step that neither hopes nor hates
Ever disturb.

“Dustman, dustman!”
He never varies from one pace,
And the monotony of time
Is in his face.

And some day, with more potent dust,
Brought from his home beyond the deep,
And gently scattered on our eyes,
We, too, shall sleep,--

Hearing the call we know so well
Fade softly out as it began,
“Dustman, dustman,
Dustman!”

- Bliss Carman, (1861-1929)


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