Four Marian Songs (2006) by Roger Bourland

February 28, 2007

maria.jpg

This was one of the pieces premiered last Thursday (2/22/2007).

FOUR MARIAN SONGS (1999/2006)
Music by Roger Bourland, Words by William MacDuff

1. Santa Maria

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2. Zdravo Marija

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3. Lamentation

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4. The Pilgrims’ Song

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Juliana Gondek, soprano
Judith Hansen, piano

Notes:
These songs were taken from the two-hour ROSARIUM, A DRAMA FOR CHORUS and ORCHESTRA (1999). The work explores two Marian apparitions, the first in Mexico (Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe), and the second in Medjugorje, Bosnia Herzegovina.

SANTA MARIA

Santa María,
madre del mundo viejo,
madre del mundo nuevo,
del indio y
también del conquistador.

Contigo haremos
al Tepeyac un templo.
Contigo haremos
el canto y la flor.

Santa María,
somos el pueblo tuyo,
somos los mexicanos.
Envuélvanos
en la tilma de tu amor.

ZDRAVO MARIJO

Zdravo Marijo,
milosti puna,
Gospodin s Tobom,
blagoslovljena
Ti medju zenama,
I blagoslovljen
plod utrobe Tvoje: Isus.

Sveta Marijo,
Majko Bozja,
moli za nas grjesnike
sada I na cas smrti nase.
Amen.

[Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.]

LAMENTATION

God in Heaven, God in Heaven
Hear my song:
My spirit aches, my mind is torn
And when I should rejoice, I mourn
A world gone very wrong.

God in Heaven, God in Heaven
Hear me pray:
My body breaks, my city burns
If this is what devotion earns
Then let me go astray.

My enemy builds mansions of gold.
He fills his day with drunken celebration
Too galling to behold.
Where is his calamity!?

My family is scattered abroad.
My children toil at menial employment
And love no living god.
Where, then, is my victory!?

God in Heaven, God in Heaven
I am lost:
The night is dark, your Voice is still.
Must I who glorified your Will
Pay such a dreadful cost?

THE PILGRIM’S SONG

I was tormented by shadows,
pursued by whispers everywhere.

I brought my Fears to Mary
And much to my dismay
She wept a sea of bitter tears
And turned the skies to gray.

I clung forlorn to Mary
And begged her for a sign.
She challenged me to be reborn
A sign of God’s design.

Walk with us, talk with us,
Mother of Mercy.
Stay for us, pray for us,
Pray we are worthy, pray we are worthy.

I was blessed with riches,
but I could only see wretchedness.

I brought my Pain to Mary
But Mary merely smiled.
No wonder she could bear my pain
She buried her own Child.

I saved my Hope for Mary
For fear my Hope would spoil.
She sent me out to scatter Hope
Like seed on fallow soil.

Walk with us, talk with us, etc.
I was greedy, I was jealous,
Full of pride, full of malice.

And I brought my Shame to Mary
When I was at a loss.
“Cry out,” she said, “in Jesus’ name
And He will share His Cross.”

I sang my Love to Mary
And this is what I found:
The Sun and Moon and Stars above
Rejoicing at the sound!

© 2007 by Roger Bourland and William MacDuff.
Published by Yelton Rhodes Music

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

cs1966 March 1, 2007 at 8:01 am

MR. Bourland –

First, thanks for posting those Marian songs. Overall, quite lovely, subdued pieces with some wonderful surprises. My favorite is Lamentation as you used some unexpected gestures (the brief oom-pah left hand in the piano and the opening rocking minor thirds worked well with the vocal line!)for the given text.

A few questions – did you aurally image these pieces for soprano? When I hear them I think these also could be transposed for a Handelian alto. I think so because the alto would add a darker hue and greater intensity. Also are you a fan of the Britten’s and Polenc’s sacred works? For Romantic rep are you a fan of Schumann’s Dichterliebe? I also can hear you have studied your Schubert quite extensively — the first track shows through the subtle harmonic changes (especially the short interlude where you make the harmonic minor sound fresh) and its leisurely rondo-like structure.

My only suggestion is you could have offered mor contrasting tracks. I also hear your love for popular and American musical ballads and I compliment you on how well you handle these influences — I would just be careful to use it judiciously and/or strive more to assimilate into your own musical language.

I look forward to hearing more.

Roger Bourland March 1, 2007 at 8:29 am

Thanks for your smart comments cs.
Juliana was a soprano when I wrote ROSARIUM (where these songs came from) and is morphing down to a mezzo. Some of the songs were originally higher. I will be making different voicings of the songs.

Britten? Not so much. Poulenc? Yes. Dichterliebe, somewhat, but I’m not a hard core Schumann enthusiast. I lean more towards France and America.

I know what you mean about contrasting songs, and I may harvest a few more from ROSARIUM, but that’s what we get for now.

Juliana, with any luck, will be recording all four sets of my songs:

Four Apart Songs
Four End Songs
Four Xmas Songs
Four Marian Songs

and I hope this will spark some interest in my vocal music among singers.

Elaine March 2, 2007 at 8:30 am

These songs are really beautiful, particularly the Spanish and Bosnian Ave Marias. While trying to load all the songs so that they would play in order without me having to sit at my computer, I came across something exciting. If you play Santa Maria and the Pilgrim’s at the same time (it is easy to adjust once they are loaded), they work very well together, particularly at the very end. It kind of has the feeling of a 13th-century Medieval motet with some Ives interludes.

Now I’m going to try the two Ave Marias together…

Roger Bourland March 2, 2007 at 9:36 am

You’re funny! My friend Dianne played all four at the same time and said that it worked quite well. Ya never know…

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