Song Lyrics Sunday: Spices

Jim Adams’ topic for this week’s Song Lyrics Sunday is spices/seasonings.

Thanks you, Jim! I get to report about one of my favorite songs as well as many of my favorite spices which are in the song!

I grew up with the Beatles, Rolling Stones, the Doors, and Simon and Garfunkel. While I love many of the latter’s songs, my favorite is Scarborough Fair/Canticle. It conjures up memories, emotions, places – it gives me goosebumps! I like the juxtaposition of the two songs and how they work so well together.

Lyrics:

Are you going to Scarborough Fair? Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.
Remember me to one who lives there, she once was a true love of mine.

Tell her to make me a cambric shirt (On the side of a hill in the deep forest green).
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme (Tracing a sparrow on snow-crested ground).
Without no seams nor needlework (Blankets and bedclothes the child of the mountain).
Then she’ll be a true love of mine (Sleeps unaware of the clarion call).

Tell her to find me an acre of land (On the side of a hill, a sprinkling of leaves).
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme (Washes the ground with so many tears).
Between the salt water and the sea strand (A soldier cleans and polishes a gun).
Then she’ll be a true love of mine. (Sleeps unaware of the clarion call).

Tell her to reap it in a sickle of leather (War bellows, blazing in scarlet battalions).
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme (Generals order their soldiers to kill).
And to gather it all in a bunch of heather (And to fight for a cause they’ve long ago forgotten).
Then she’ll be a true love of mine.

Are you going to Scarborough Fair? Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.
Remember me to one who lives there, she once was a true love of mine.

Known by its refrain of spices “parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme,” Scarborough Fair is actually a traditional English ballad dating from the 18th century. Its based on an old Scottish folk song The Elfin King. It was performed or recorded by a number of musicians, including British folk song collector and singer A.L. Lloyd in 1955 on his album The English and Scottish Popular Ballads. Paul Simon learned it from Martin Carthy, an English folksinger, in 1965. Carthy had learned the melody from a songbook by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger and included it in his 1965 album Martin Carthy. Also, Bob Dylan borrowed some of the melody and lyrics from Carthy’s version for his song Girl From the North Country, which appeared on four of his albums.

Canticle is a reworking of the lyrics of an anti-war song called The Side of a Hill, written by Simon, and set to a new melody by his partner, Art Garfunkel. They then brilliantly weave the two songs together.

Scarborough Fair/Canticle was the lead track on Simon and Garfunkel’s 1966 album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme and was released as a single after appearing on the soundtrack to the movie The Graduate. The copyright for the song was listed on the album only as Paul Simon & Art Garfunkel, which was resented by Carthy, who thought the “traditional” source should have been credited. The rift remained until 2000, when Simon invited Carthy to perform a duet with him at a concert in London. Simon performed the song with the Muppets when he was guest star on The Muppets Show.

For more details about the history of Scarborough Fair, see the Wikipedia article of the same name.
For a discussion of the musical structure of Scarborough Fair/Canticle and its place in popular music of the 1960s, see William Hume’s 2018 article.

5 Things Tuesday: Make Me Smile

Years ago, there used to be a weekly feature called “5 Things.” I don’t remember who hosted it but I really got into it. Every week the blogger would write about five things pertaining to a certain topic. I think it is great that Dr. Tanya is resurrecting it! And what fun for us all to share our five things every week!

A happy topic to start:5 Things That Make Me Smile!

  1.  Kittens – really cats of all ages. I have a whole separate blog about cats, but I don’t add to it much. I mostly post my cat pictures/stories here!

SONY DSC
Kittens and cats

2.  Flowers – I love to discover them, photograph them and admire them!

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Daffodils are special because they are the heralds of the beginning of spring.

3.  Ice cream or anything chocolate

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Oh, how I’d love to have one of these right now!

4.   Baby animals – It’s so fun to walk around the campus of our community right now, because we get to see baby ducks, baby geese, and very soon baby swans!
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5.  Just the right music for my mood – from Beatles to Mahler

Dr. Tanya’s challenge and her answers remind me of a song, which is appropriate to end this post:

CFFC: Do You Hear What I Hear?

Sound is all around us, both delightful and bothersome. For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, Cee continues with her series on the senses. This week it is sense of hearing. I hope you will imagine hearing what I heard when I took these photos.

Music – the most wonderful sounds of all…

Can you hear the pure harmonies sung by these young performers?

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The singing was sweet and the performers, all high school girls, were very talented.

The photo above was taken at a concert of a barbershop chorus here called The Arlingtones. They often invite high school vocal ensembles to perform a few songs. The Arlingtones also have several quartets made up of different members of the group. My brother-in-law is in one of these groups (he’s the short bald guy). Every year on February 14, he and his quartet do singing valentines. They go to businesses, homes, and senior communities – like the one that we live in! (My sister and brother-in-law live here too!) This year, they were hired to sing for a couple on a special wedding anniversary.

Can you hear the blend of men’s voices singing a love song?

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The quartet sings Let Me Call You Sweetheart. As a special touch, they always give the ladies a rose.

I have seen – and heard, of course! – the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performing live at Ravinia last summer…

Do you still hear the music playing in your head during intermission?

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I took this during CSO’s break – at that moment, the instruments were silent, but soon would be tuned and played once again to the crowd’s delight!

…and after the quarantine started, on closed-circuit TV in our home.

Can you hear the vigorous bowing of the cellos during Beethoven’s 9th Symphony?
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There are always big crowds at Ravinia (they’ve cancelled their entire season this year 😦 ), and before gatherings of more than a few people were banned, on warm summer evenings, many performers did concerts outside – often free of charge, like this one, last July. The performer was Wynona Judd, and she did a wonderful concert of upbeat songs in a park in Elk Grove Village.

Can you hear the twang of country music sung by a woman with a big voice?

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We weren’t up close but could hear perfectly well from where we were sitting with our friends. Long gone are the days when I wanted to be as close to the speakers as possible!

Besides the music, when the Wynona and her band weren’t playing, there were the sounds of the crowd.

Can you hear the cacophony of voices?
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A few times during the concert, airplanes flew overhead from nearby O’Hare Airport, drowning out the music and the crowd chatter for a few moments.

Can you hear the plane’s loud whine?

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An airplane taking off from O’Hare traces the trail of pink clouds overhead, which were made by an earlier jet!

Besides music, crowds and airplanes, there are the sounds of nature. When I walk outside, I don’t put on headphones and listen to music; I prefer to experience the outdoors with all my senses! Mostly what I hear these days are birds.

Can you hear the trill of the redwing blackbird and the pecking of the woodpecker?SONY DSC
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FWWTW: Pandemic Entertainment

I wasn’t going to participate in Fandango’s Who Won the Week this week, because not much has happened. Then I started thinking about what I enjoyed most this week. The first thing I thought of was the warmer weather (finally!) and the flowers. But then I thought of something that deserves to “win” the week because I have been enjoying it every Sunday afternoon.

Our senior community has two closed-circuit TV stations – one of which is used by the staff for announcements, virtual meetings, exercise classes, etc. The other station is for our entertainment! Videos of virtual choirs are put together and shown every Sunday afternoon.  But that is not the only time that one can hear virtual choirs and other virtual musical groups. Facebook has many postings of virtual choirs and YouTube is another place to see them. A grid of small squares appears on the screen, and in each square is an individual singer performing in his/her own home.  It also takes a lot of coordination and tech savvy to put these performances together. Everyone has to be singing at exactly the right tempo (down to the millisecond), on key, and usually with parts memorized. Many wear headphones, presumably to be able to hear a background track to keep them exactly in the right place at the right time. Whoever puts them together collects a recorded track from each performer and syncs them to sound like a real choir, with the right blend and volume. Many have to be tweeked or re-recorded if a singer is just a tiny bit off. The effect, when finished, is quite spectacular! If you are not looking at the screen, you wouldn’t be able to tell that it isn’t the whole rather than the sum of its parts.
virtual choir1

Virtual choirs uplift my spirit – whether gospel or secular, their enthusiasm is evident, and when I look at their faces, I feel a connection to them. They are putting together these online performances for all of us, who are at home in quarantine, as are they. At that moment, I realize that these individuals could be anywhere in the entire world, because we have the technology to bring everyone together, and that people all over the world are basically doing the same thing we are doing right now – staying at home being entertained by virtual performances. I feel a sort of solidarity with my fellow human beings around the world whose countries are also afflicted by the pandemic. In Spain, England, Brazil, India, Germany, Canada, the U.S. and many others, people are tuning in to their local news outlets which give them the daily statistics of number of cases, number of deaths, and what the “curve” currently looks like in their part of the world. Everyone is going stir crazy, and there are many jokes, cartoons and parodies about the dilemma of being stuck at home while a highly contagious virus makes its way through our communities.

So this week, I honor virtual choirs for their inspiration, dedication and enthusiasm to allow us to forget while being swept into the music, and make life just a little bit easier for us all.

Dear Music Teachers - Please Stop Asking How To Create A Virtual ...

RDP: Dancing, Yeah!

Ragtag Daily Prompt today is Dance.

A Sunday afternoon on Avenida Paulista, São Paulo, Brazil: Ballet and…

…political protest batucada: “Fora Temer” – a protest against the vice president (Temer) who took over for Pres. Dilma Roussef after her arrest.

Panama Canal Cruise – in Mexican town of Tuxtla Chico, Chiapas
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KODAK Digital Still Camera

Panama Canal Cruise on board m/s Veendam: Mexican dancers
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Verde Valley School 70th anniversary: Saturday night dance

Song Lyrics Sunday: Isolation

This is a John Lennon song that I never heard before, and it fits this week’s theme for Song Lyrics Sunday with the prompts Alone/Confined/Depressed/Isolated/Restless/Solo .
After listening to several other songs that fit the prompt, I chose this one because I have always been a big fan of the Beatles and John’s solo career.

Isolation
Words and Music by John Lennon

People say we got it made
Don’t they know we’re so afraid
Isolation
We’re afraid to be alone
Everybody got to have a home
Isolation
Just a boy and a little girl
Trying to change the whole wide world
Isolation
The world is just a little town
Everybody trying to put us down
Isolation
I don’t expect you, to understand
After you caused so much pain
But then again, you’re not to blame
You’re just a human, a victim of the insane
We’re afraid of everyone
Afraid of the sun
Isolation
The sun will never disappear
But the world may not have many years
Isolation

Isolation was included on Lennon’s first solo album in 1970, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, released on the Apple label. It is the last song on Side One. The song is about Lennon’s feelings of vulnerability, dissatisfied with the way his life was going. The Beatles had broken up and he was feeling disillusioned with fame, especially because he and his wife Yoko Ono were the subjects of attacks. At the time, he was full of insecurity and self-doubt, feelings brought on by his extensive drug use.  In Isolation he found release, inspired by Primal Therapy which he experienced in the summer of 1970, guided by Dr. Arthur Janov. The song was recorded in September-October 1970.

In the first verse, he is saying that even though he and Yoko have everything, they feel as lonely and isolated as everyone else. The second verse alludes to the couple’s political activism and the way people reacted to it caused even more isolation. The third verse is more generalized to include all those who have caused his pain; he absolves them because they are only human, and all of humanity is victim of insanity at times. The fourth verse generalizes even more, putting people’s fears of each other and even the sun into the context of a universe which may be permanent, but our planet may not be, this last concept illustrated by the song’s abrupt ending.

The pain the song addresses is enhanced by musical dissonance, especially the use of semitone, or half step, intervals. Musicologist Wilfred Mellers called Isolation an “Anglicized version of Negro piano blues.” The instrumentation starts with just drums, played by Ringo Starr, and piano, played by Lennon, as back up to his vocals. As the song becomes louder and more emotional, an organ, also played by John, is added. There is also a bass guitar played by Klaus Voorman, a German artist and musician who designed the covers of albums of the Beatles and many other bands. The mood of isolation is enhanced by silences incorporated into the sad melody.

Several covers were made of the song, including by Marianne Faithfull and Snow Patrol (a northern Irish-Scottish indie rock band) in 2005. Harry Nilssen, Joe Cocker, and Matthew Sweet, among others, also recorded the song. Johnny Depp and Jeff Beck have released the newest version, in April 2020.

Sources:
Wikipedia: Isolation (a John Lennon song)

The Beatles Bible: Isolation

 

 

 

Song Lyrics Sunday

I found so many good songs featuring the precious gems that are the theme of Jim Adams’ Song Lyrics Sunday this week! But I love Joan Baez and this an “oldie but goodie” from her 1975 album entitled Diamonds and Rust. The title song is one she wrote herself, in November 1974, about her relationship with Bob Dylan. Listening to it conjures up so many memories! It is considered one of her best songs, and the album sold gold – 1,000,000 copies.

DIAMONDS AND RUST
Composed & performed by Joan Baez

Well, I’ll be damned
Here comes your ghost again
But that’s not unusual
It’s just that the moon is full
And you happened to call
And here I sit
Hand on the telephone
Hearing a voice I’d known
A couple of light years ago
Heading straight for a fall
As I remember your eyes
Were bluer than robin’s eggs
My poetry was lousy you said
Where are you calling from?
A booth in the midwest
Ten years ago
I bought you some cufflinks
You brought me something
We both know what memories can bring
They bring diamonds and rust
Well, you burst on the scene
Already a legend
The unwashed phenomenon
The original vagabond
You strayed into my arms
And there you stayed
Temporarily lost at sea
The Madonna was yours for free
Yes, the girl on the half-shell
Could keep…
Now I see you standing
With brown leaves falling all around
And snow in your hair
Now you’re smiling out the window
Of that crummy hotel
Over Washington Square
Our breath comes out white clouds
Mingles and hangs in the air
Speaking strictly for me
We both could have died then and there
Now you’re telling me
You’re not nostalgic
Then give me another word for it
You who are so good with words
And at keeping things vague
‘Cause I need some of that vagueness now
It’s all come back too clearly
Yes, I loved you dearly
And if you’re offering me diamonds and rust
I’ve already paid.

Diamonds_&_Rust_(Joan_Baez_album_-_cover_art)

In the song, she recalls an out-of-the-blue phone call from an old lover, which sends her back 10 years to a “crummy” hotel in Greenwich Village. She says that memories bring “diamonds and rust.” Baez claims the lyrics refer to her relationship with Bob Dylan ten years earlier.

She reprised the song, with a few lyric changes, in her 1995 live performance recording   Ring Them Bells as a duet with Mary Chapin Carpenter, in 2010 as a duet with Judy Collins on Collins’ album Paradise, and on her 2018 Fare Thee Well Tour.

She has made no secret of the fact that the relationship with Dylan was the inspiration for the song, although she originally told Dylan that it was about her ex-husband, David Harris. Here is a excerpt from an interview with music writer Mike Ragogna for the Huffington Post in 2012, in which Baez admits the song is about Dylan:

MR: “Diamonds and Rust” was another magic moment. You’ve said when you began writing the song, it started as something else until Dylan phoned you. Then it became about him. That must have been one helluva call.
JB: He read me the entire lyrics to “Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts” that he’d just finished from a phone booth in the Midwest.
MR: What was the song about originally?
JB: I don’t remember what I’d been writing about, but it had nothing to do with what it ended up as.

Judas Priest covered the song on their album Sin After Sin, and it is still a staple at their live concert performances. Joan Baez commented about Judas Priest’s version, “I love that!…I thought it was wonderful! It’s very rare for people to cover my songs…but it’s always flattering when somebody does.” Other artists who have covered Diamonds and Rust include Blackmore’s Night, S.O.D., Great White, Taylor Mitchell, and Thunderstone.

Information for this post was obtained on Wikipedia Diamond and Rust (song).

Song Lyrics Sunday: Happy Birthday

The ubiquitous classic, Happy Birthday to You, actually has a rather interesting history.*

I’ve chosen this song for Jim Adams’ Song Lyrics Sunday  with the theme Birthday/Cake/Gift/Party/Surprise   first, because I was able to find a fun version of it and second, because it’s the song we’re all singing in our bathrooms as we wash our hands 20 times a day during this Covid-19 crisis! If you sing the happy birthday song twice through, you’ve taken up about 20 seconds, which is how long you are supposed to lather and scrub your hands to totally rid them of any lurking malicious germs and viruses.
How to wash your hands properly, according to doctors

According to the 1998 Guinness Book of World Records, Happy Birthday to You is the most recognized song in the English language, and it has been translated into about 20 other languages.

Here’s a sort of cute “theme and variations” of this classic folk song, all parts sung by Charles Cornell (alone and practicing social distancing, I’m sure! 😉 ), who apparently does a lot of these variations on common ditties on YouTube:

Charles Cornell has also recorded similar versions of Jingle Bells and Row, Row, Row Your Boat, among others, which you can watch on YouTube.

And now the lyrics (just in case you’re checking in from another planet and have never heard this song before)!!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday, dear Jimmy
(or whoever’s birthday it is)
Happy Birthday to you!

OK, we all sing it but does anyone know the history of this song? Neither did I until I did research for this post. It all started in a kindergarten class…

Patty Hill was a kindergarten principal in 1893 in Louisville, Kentucky and her sister Mildred was a pianist and composer. The sisters used Good Morning to All as an easy song that kindergartners could sing and remember, and it was sung every morning at the beginning of class. When it was a child’s birthday, they used the same melody, but made it into a birthday song.

The song was attributed to the Hill sisters, but like many folk songs, no one really knows for sure who composed it. The combination of the melody with the birthday lyrics first appeared in print in 1912.  It did not have a copyright until 1935, when the Summy Company registered a copyright attributing the song to different authors. The Hills did, however, copyright Good Morning to All.

As the birthday song’s popularity expanded, the Hill sisters began to file suits against its unlicensed use, including  Irving Berlin and Moss Hart, who allegedly used the song in a Broadway musical, The Band Wagon.

In 1988, Warner/Chappell purchased the Summy Company and with it, the copyright, for $25 million. The song’s value was estimated at $5 million! Warner Bros. claimed that the United States copyright would not expire until 2030, and that unauthorized public performances of the song are illegal unless royalties are paid. (Who knew??) In February 2010, the royalty for a single use was US$700. (Wow, a very expensive birthday party for your kid if you had to pay royalties for using the song  in the privacy of your own home!) Still, by one estimate, Happy Birthday is the highest-earning song in history. In one example, Disney had to pay Warner Bros. $5,000 to use the song in a parade.

The copyright status of the song began to get more notice with the passage of the Copyright Term Extension Act in 1998. In 2003, the Supreme Court upheld the act in its decision Eldred vs. Ashcroft. Justice Stephen Breyer specifically mentioned the birthday song in his dissenting opinion.

Filmmakers and lawyers began to organize in opposition to Warner’s copyright, claiming that the song should be in the public domain. In 2010, a law professor named Robert Brauneis extensively researched the song and came to the conclusion that it almost certainly was not under copyright. In 2015, a federal judge declared that the Warner/Chappell copyright claim was invalid, ruling that the copyright registration applied only to a specific piano arrangement of the song and not to its lyrics and melody. In 2016, Warner/Chappell settled for $14 million, and the court ruled that Happy Birthday was now in the public domain. (Whew!!! I’m so relieved we’re finally off the hook when we celebrate the birthdays of our friends and family!)

I used two sources for this post:
Wikipedia, Happy Birthday to You
The Contentious History of the Happy Birthday Song

*I was going to choose Birthday by the Beatles but its history wasn’t interesting and I figured other people would choose it.

Song Lyric Sunday: Touch

Jim Adams’ Song Lyric Sunday this week has the theme Touch/Feel – something we don’t get to do much of these days! No one wants to touch anything without cleaning first and we can’t touch other people unless we have 6-ft. long arms! So this theme is something that we currently miss.

However, I heard on TV a doctor saying that we do not have to practice physical distancing with our significant other, and that sex is fine as long as it is with the partner you live with!

I selected “Touch” by the Josh Abbott Band, a song about love and sexual desire. I had never heard of either the song nor the band before, having done a search on YouTube with “touch” and “feel.” I listened to it and found it pleasant, although not spectacular. I don’t generally listen to country music, but  for this challenge I like to learn something new.

Touch
Josh Abbott Band
A little longer, baby stay with me a little longer
I just want your touch again, to feel your body giving in
It’s pulling at me, my desire to make you happy
I want to feel your touch again
Let’s just lie here together chasing forever
I can’t get enough of your love
Brave and relentless, sweet and defenseless,
I can never get enough every time we touch
Can’t stop staring, my eyes keep taking off what you’re wearing
I just want your touch again, to feel your body giving in
You’re a bad liar, that smile gives away what you desire,
You wanna feel my touch again
Let’s just lie here together, chasing forever
I can’t get enough of your love, brave and relentless,
Sweet and defenseless
I can never get enough every time we touch
Yeah let’s lie here together chasing forever,
I can’t get enough of your love
Brave and relentless, sweet and defenseless,
I can never get enough every time we touch, every time we touch

Josh Abbott founded his country band while living in Lubbock, Texas where he attended Texas Tech University. In grad school, he formed the band with fraternity brothers Austin Davis, Neel Huey, and Andrew Hurt. They recorded a four-song demo, then Huey and Hurt dropped out to pursue careers and were replaced with Preston Wait and Eddie Villanueva. In 2008, they recorded their debut album Scapegoat. Caleb Keeter and James Hertless joined in 2010, and Hertless eventually left the band in 2018.

Their second album, She’s Like Texas, was released in 2010 and made the Top Country Albums Chart.

They released their third CD, Small Town Family Dream, in 2012. It was their highest charting album, debuting at #5 on Top Country Albums and sold 21,000 copies in the U.S. its first week. The second single from the album, “Touch”, was released in February and came out digitally on February 14. On the music video is the reality TV star Melissa Rycroft and her husband Tye Strickland, who was also one of Abbott’s fraternity brothers. “Touch” was also featured in the motion picture The Longest Ride, based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks. Small Town Family Dream was their most successful album and “Touch” has been their most successful single, reaching #41 on the U.S. Country chart and #8 on U.S. Bubbling.
small town family dream

Since then, they have released two more albums, both of which met with moderate success. Abbott’s themes are taken from his life experiences, such as his divorce (on the 4th album) and the birth of his daughter and the sudden death of his father one month into the making of the 5th album.

In 2017, they performed at Route 91 Harvest,  the scene of the Las Vegas mass shooting later that year.

 

Song Lyric Sunday: The Promise of Living

Jim’s Song Lyric Sunday this week has the theme Promise/Vow/Oath.

This is a song from The Tender Land by Aaron Copland, “The Promise of Living.” Our church choir sang it a couple of years ago for the funeral of the grandfather of one of our members. The fact that I have this personal connection to the piece is the reason I chose it. This recording is by one of my favorite choirs, Angel City Chorale, with full orchestration, although it is often performed with piano accompaniment, which is what our choir had.

Lyrics:

The promise of living with hope and thanksgiving
Is born of our loving our friends and our labor.

The promise of growing with faith and with knowing
Is born of our sharing our love with our neighbor.

The promise of loving, the promise of growing
Is born of our singing in joy and thanksgiving.

For many a year we’ve know these fields
And know all the work that makes them yield.
We’re ready to work, we’re ready to lend a hand.
By working together we’ll bring in the blessings of harvest.

We plant each row with seeds of grain,
And Providence sends us the sun and the rain.
By lending a hand, by lending an arm
Bring out the blessings of harvest.

Give thanks there was sunshine, give thanks there was rain,
Give thanks we have hands to deliver the grain.

O let us be joyful, O let us be grateful to the Lord for his blessing.

The promise of living, the promise of growing
The promise of ending is labor and sharing and loving.

Copland’s 1954 opera, The Tender Land, evokes the dignity and meaningfulness of labor. The librettist was Horace Everett, a pseudonym for Erik Johns. Farming – cultivating the soil of America’s heartland and reaping the benefits of its harvest for a balanced and fulfilling life are central to the opera’s theme. It tells the story of a farm family in the Midwest in the 1930s during the spring harvest and the protagonist’s graduation from high school. Copland was inspired to write the opera after seeing Walker Evans’ photographs of the Depression era and reading James Agee’s Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.

Unfortunately, the opera was not a success. It was written for NBC’s Television Opera Workshop and rejected by network producers, perhaps because of the weakness of its characters and plot. It premiered at New York City Opera on April 1, 1954, but the work was intended for the intimacy of television and didn’t translate well to the stage.

In spite of its lack of success, it’s kind of amazing that television networks at one time commissioned composers to write operas for TV. At the time, both CBS and NBC had their own in-house orchestras. It was the time when an operetta written for the Christmas season, Amahl and the Night Visitors by Gian Carlo Menotti, enjoyed tremendous success and was shown every Christmas season throughout the 1950s and early 1960s to the great enjoyment of the TV viewing public. (I remember watching Amahl every year on TV – it was a tradition in our house – and my siblings and I can still sing much of it by heart!) NBC Television Opera produced several other operas for TV in the period between 1949 and 1964.

Copland and Johns made revisions to the opera, including expanding Act II. The composer agreed to let Murry Sidlin rescore the work for fewer instruments for a production in New Haven in 1987, a staging that ran for 50 performances. Two of Copland’s Old American Songs were added to the central party scene.  A 1965 concert version of the work (i.e. unstaged) was released by Sony on CD.

In 1958, Copland turned the opera’s music into an orchestral suite. Here is the link to the orchestral version of The Promise of Living: https://youtu.be/uyDljV1-BSc.

The music starts softly, like the awakening of early morning with the birds singing, and unfolds into a majestic hymn of thanksgiving. The final chord encompasses the full range of the orchestra, just as the final chord in the vocal version ends dramatically with the entire choir singing fortissimo.

 

The information above was obtained from The Promise of Living: Copland for Labor Day by Timothy Judd and Wikipedia, The Tender Land.