First message from the composer

by Eric Banks on Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 4:23pm

As I find myself sailing toward completing this new “nautical” commission for Clerestory, I wanted to share each of these six poems by Herman Melville with you. This cycle, called “These oceans vast,” will be premiered in late October. I’m excited to join the guys for a short residency in San Francisco, rehearse these pieces with them, and hear them come to life!

I. The land of love (Hail! voyagers, hail!)

Hail! voyagers, hail!
Whence e’er ye come, where’er ye rove,
No calmer strand,
No sweeter land,
Will e’er ye view, than the land of love!

Hail! voyagers, hail!
To these, our shores, soft gales invite:
The palm plumes wave,
The billows lave,
And hither point fix’d stars of light!

Hail! voyagers, hail!
Think not our groves wide brood with gloom;
In this, our isle,
Bright flowers smile:
Full urns, rose-heaped, these valleys bloom.

Hail! voyagers, hail!
Be not deceived; renounce vain things;
Ye may not find
A tranquil mind,
Though hence ye sail with swiftest wings.

Hail! voyagers, hail!
Time flies full fast; life soon is o’er;
And ye may mourn,
That hither borne,
Ye left behind our pleasant shore.

Setting sail

Inspired by the Bay Area’s maritime traditions and the arrival of the America’s Cup races, this October Clerestory presents “SeaSongs.” Traditional chanteys, serenely flowing Renaissance polyphony, and modern melodies will transport listeners over bays, islands, waves, and currents. The concert features Clerestory’s first ever commissioned work, “These Oceans Vast,” a song cycle on poems of Hermann Melville by the esteemed Seattle composer Eric Banks. Set sail with us this October!