Grace

grace-page1.png
Grace-page1.png
grace-page1.png
Grace-page1.png

Grace

2.00

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Details
Format: Mixed Choir - 4 voices
Voicing: SATB
Incidental Divisi: S, A, T, B
Accompaniment: optional
Instrumentation: piano, organ
Notation: standard
Performance Length: 5:00

Text and Language
Language(s): English
Text Source: George Herbert
Text:
From The Temple

My stock lies dead, and no increase
Doth my dull husbandrie improve:
O let thy graces without cease
Drop from above!

If still the sunne should hide his face,
Thy house would but a dungeon prove,
Thy works nights captives:
O let grace Drop from above!

The dew doth ev’ry morning fall;
And shall the dew out-strip thy dove?
The dew, for which grasse cannot call,
Drop from above.

Death is still working like a mole,
And digs my grave at each remove:
Let grace work too, and on my soul
Drop from above.

Sinne is still hammering my heart
Unto a hardnesse, void of love:
Let suppling grace, to crosse his art,
Drop from above.

O come! for thou dost know the way.
Or if to me thou wilt not move,
Remove me, where I need not say,
Drop from above.

Composer's Notes
George Herbert’s poem is a prayer that begins on a personal level, with the immediate perils that face a struggling farmer, and then extends to questions concerning potential threats to the cosmos. In turn, I wanted to portray the sense of longing that comes as we await a sign of divine mercy on both the level of the individual and the level of the planet. Chant-like phrases interspersed with pregnant pauses are intended to draw our attention inward, while the ascending tonal modulations evoke a lack of certainty joined with growing intensity. As a result, the refrain “Drop from above” becomes more emphatic at the end of each stanza until it develops into a section unto itself, resounding like a mantra. While contemplating the mysteries of life, the poem’s speaker maintains a solid faith.