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Classical Music - John Mitchell
    Audio clips - John Mitchell, composer

AUDIO CLIPS

Song Settings of Poems by:
John Donne • • William Blake
Walt Whitman • • Robert Frost
Edna St. Vincent Millay • • Sylvia Plath


William Blake

I Love the Merry Dance
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music by John Mitchell
words by William Blake
April Crane, soprano

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I love the merry dance,
The softly breathing song,
Where innocent eyes do glance,
Where lisps the maiden's tongue.

I love the laughing vale,
I love the echoing hills,
Where mirth does never fail,
And the jolly swain laughs his fill.

I love the pleasant cot,
I love the innocent bow'r,
Where white and brown is our lot,
Or fruit in the midday hour.

I love the oaken seat,
Beneath the oaken tree,
Where all the villagers meet,
And laugh my sports to see.

I love our neighbors all,
But Kitty, but Kitty, I love thee more;
And love them ever I shall;
But thou art all to me.

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John Donne

With His Kind Mother
music by John Mitchell
words by John Donne
Ariella Vaccarino, soprano

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With His kind mother, who partakes thy woe,
Joseph, turn back ; see where your child doth sit,
Blowing, yea blowing out those sparks of wit,
Which Himself on the doctors did bestow.
The Word but lately could not speak, and lo !
It suddenly speaks wonders ; whence comes it,
That all which was, and all which should be writ,
A shallow seeming child should deeply know ?
His Godhead was not soul to His manhood,
Nor had time mellow'd Him to this ripeness ;
But as for one which hath a long task, 'tis good,
With the sun to begin His business,
He in His age's morning thus began,
By miracles exceeding power of man.

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Walt Whitman

I Hear Thee Trumpeter
music by John Mitchell
words by Walt Whitman
Jeffrey Stackhouse, bass-baritone

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HARK, some wild trumpeter, some strange musician,
Hovering unseen in air, vibrates capricious tunes to-night.

I hear thee trumpeter, listening alert I catch thy notes,
Now pouring, whirling like a tempest round me,
Now low, subdued, now in the distance lost.

come nearer bodiless one, haply in thee resounds
Some dead composer, haply thy pensive life
Was fill'd with aspirations high, unform'd ideals,
Waves, oceans musical, chaotically surging,
That now ecstatic ghost, close to me bending, thy cornet echoing, pealing,
Gives out to no one's ears but mine, but freely gives to mine,
That I may thee translate.

Blow trumpeter free and clear, I follow thee,
While at thy liquid prelude, glad, serene,
The fretting world, the streets, the noisy hours of day withdraw,
A holy calm descends like dew upon me,
I walk in cool refreshing night the walks of Paradise,
I scent the grass, the moist air and the roses;
Thy song expands my numb'd imbonded spirit, thou freest,launchest me
Floating and basking upon heaven's lake.

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Robert Frost

To the Thawing Wind
music by John Mitchell
words by Robert Frost
Jeffrey Stackhouse, bass-baritone

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come with rain, O loud Southwester!
Bring the singer, bring the nester;
Give the buried flower a dream;
Make the settled snow-bank steam;
Find the brown beneath the white;
But whate'er you do to-night,
Bathe my window, make it flow,
Melt it as the ice will go;
Melt the glass and leave the sticks
Like a hermit's crucifix;
Burst into my narrow stall;
Swing the picture on the wall;
Run the rattling pages o'er;
Scatter poems on the floor;
Turn the poet out the door.

Acquainted with the Night
music by John Mitchell
text by Robert Frost
Jeffrey Stackhouse, bass-baritone

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I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain--and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height
One luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.

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Edna St. Vincent Millay

You'll Be Sorry
music by John Mitchell
words by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Wendy Lashbrook, soprano

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Oh, oh, you will be sorry for that word!
Give back my book and take my kiss instead.
Was it my enemy or my friend I heard?
"What a big book for such a little head!"
Come, I will show you now my newest hat,
And you may watch me purse my mouth and prink!
Oh, I shall love you still, and all of that.
I never again will tell you what I think.
I shall be sweet and crafty, soft and sly;
You will not catch me reading any more;
I shall be called a wife to pattern by.
And some day when you knock and push the door,
Some sane day, not too bright and not too stormy,
I shall be gone,
And you may whistle for me.

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Sylvia Plath

Morning Song
music by John Mitchell
words by Sylvia Plath
Wendy Lashbrook, soprano

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Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.

Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.

I'm no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind's hand.

All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:
A far sea moves in my ear.

One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat's. The window square

Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.

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