Stephen Hartke

TWO SONGS FOR AN UNCERTAIN AGE  (1981) Lament and Meditation for Soprano and Orchestra Texts by W.H. Auden and Giacomo Leopardi Duration: 16 Minutes I.  Stop all the clocks (W.H.Auden) II.  L'infinito (Giacomo Leopardi) Orchestra 3 Flutes (3rd doubles Piccolo), 3 Oboes (3rd doubles English Horn), E-flat Clarinet. 2 B- flat Clarinets (2nd doubles Bass Clarinet), 2 Bassoons, Contrabassoon), 4 Horns, 3 Trumpets,  3 Trombones, Tuba, 3 Percussionists (Glockenspiel, Vibraphone, Snare Drum, Tenor Drum, Bass Drum, Suspended Cymbal, Crash Cymbals), 2 Timpanists, Piano, Celesta, Harp, Strings Originally begun as a symphony for three vocal soloists and orchestra, setting texts in Engish, Italian, French and Old English, by having added an interlude connecting the two soprano arias that were completed in 1981, Songs for an Uncertain Age is now an independent work.  The Old English text which was going to finish this symphony became, in translation, the basis for my Symphony No. 3. I. Stop all the clocks (W.H. Auden) Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone, Silence the pianos and with muffled drum Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come. Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead Scribbling on the sky the message:  He is dead! He was my North, my South, my East and West, My working week and my Sunday rest, My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song; I thought that love would last forever:  I was wrong. The stars are not wanted now:  put out every one. Pack up the moon, and dismantle the sun; Pous away the ocean, and sweep up the wood, For nothing now can ever come to any good. II. L'infinito (Giacomo Leopardi) Sempre caro mi fu quest'ermo colle, E questa siepe, che da tanta parte Dell' ultimo orizzonte il guardo esclude. Ma sedendo e mirando, interminati Spazi di là da qualla e sovrumani silenzi E profondissima quiete Io nel pensier mi fingo ove per poco Il cor non si spaura. E come il vento Odo stormir tra queste piante;  Io quello infinito silenzio a questa voce Vo comparando:  e mi sovvien l'eterno, E le morte stagioni, e la presente E viva, e il suon di lei. Così tra questa immensità s'annega il pensier mio: E il naufragar m'è dolce in questo mare.
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