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Thursday, February 19, 2015

John Constable - Haywain, Felix Mendelssohn - Elijah, Elizabeth Barrett Browning - Cheerfulness Taught by Reason

Another John Constable painting this week.  He seemed to like painting wagons.  This cottage is attractive and I like the sunlight in the distant field and reflected in the water.  What attracts you in this painting?
Haywain - John Constable -
John Constable - Haywain
John Constable - Haywain (Detail)

Humor me one more week, I don't feel quite ready to move on from Felix Mendelssohn's Elijah Oratorio.... This is a different link than last week and the words seem easier to understand.  Below is a listing of the parts if you want to start part way through and just listen to a particular part.... (I recommend Obadiah's solo at 10:56).

Elijah Oratorio Part 1

Elijah (sung in English) -Elias, an Oratorio after words from the Old Testamnt, Op. 70.

1. Thomas Hampson, baritone (Elijah)
2. Barbara Bonney , soprano (The Widow)
3. Henriette Schellenberg, soprano (Angel)
4. Florence Quivar, mezzo-soprano (Angel)
5. Marietta Simpson, mezzo-soprano (The Queen)
6. Jerry Hadley, tenor (Obadiah)
7. Richard Clement, tenor (Ahab)
8. Thomas Paul, baritone
9. Reid Bartelme, boy soprano (The Youth)

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra & Chorus
Ann Howard Jones, assistant conductor for choruses
Conducted by Robert Shaw
Part I
0:00 Introduction (Elijah) - As God of Israel liveth
0:57 Ouverture
4:28 Chorus - Help Lord
7:50 Quartet Recit. - The deep affords no water (3,5,7,8)
8:48 Duet with chorus - Zion spreadeth her hands for aid (3,5)
10:56 Recit (Obadiah) - If with all your hearts
Chorus - Yet doth the Lord see it not
19:00 Recit (Angel) - Elijah! get thee hence (Florence Quivar)
19:55 Double quartet -For He shall give His angels (2,3,4,5,6,7,8,)
23:04 Recit (Angel): Now Cherith's book is dried up (Florence Quivar)
24:22 Air (Bonney): What have I to do with thee - Recit (Elijah, Widow) Give me thy son!
13. 9. Chorus - 'Blessed Are All They That Fear Him'
14. 10 Recitative (Elijah, Ahab) With Chorus - 'As God The Lord Of Sabaoth Liveth'
15. 11. Chorus - 'Baal, Answer Us'
16. 12. Recitative (Elijah) And Chorus - 'Call Him Louder, For He Is A God!'
17. 13. Recitative (Elijah) And Chorus - 'Call Him Louder! He Heareth Not'
18. 14. Air (Elijah) - 'Lord God Of Abraham, Isaac And Israel'
19. 15. Quartet (Angels) - 'Cast Thy Burden Upon The Lord'
20. 16. Recitative (Elijah) And Chorus - 'O Thou, Who Makest Thine Angels Spirits'
21. 17. Air (Elijah) - 'Is Not His Word Like A Fire?'
22. 18. Air - 'Woe Unto Them Who Forsake Him!'
23. 19. Recitative (Obadiah, Elijah, Youth) And Chorus - 'O Man Of God, Help Thy People!'
24. 20. Chorus - 'Thanks Be To God!'

I can't recommend highly enough the story of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, The Silver Answer, by Constance Buel Burnett. But I have also been browsing through The British Library Writers' Lives book, Elizabeth Barrett Browning & Robert Browning. It has pictures and lots of interesting information on their lives. I hope to feature Robert Browning's poetry during Spring quarter starting in April.  Today's poem:

      Cheerfulness Taught by Reason

I Think we are too ready with complaint
In this fair world of God's. Had we no hope
Indeed beyond the zenith and the slope
Of yon gray blank of sky, we might grow faint
To muse upon eternity's constraint
Round our aspirant souls; but since the scope
Must widen early, is it well to droop,
For a few days consumed in loss and taint ?
O pusillanimous* Heart, be comforted
And, like a cheerful traveller, take the road
Singing beside the hedge. What if the bread
Be bitter in thine inn, and thou unshod
To meet the flints ? At least it may be said
' Because the way is short, I thank thee, God. '

* Pusillanimous means - weak and afraid of danger,
lacking in courage and manly strength and resolution; contemptibly fearful

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