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Sunday, March 7, 2004 - 2:58pmSanction this postReply
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The purpose of this post is to publicize my musical play The Watcher on the Shore, in hopes that some person connected with the theater -- and sympathetic to Objectivism -- will become interested in it. To this end, Iím putting up the music and lyrics to one of its songs, which is actually two songs.

 

The theme of The Watcher on the Shore is The Future. What can we expect of it, and in what direction should we be steering?

 

The words to the song (to hear it, see link below) are based on the following Tennyson lyric, from his long poem The Princess (1847):

 

COME down, O maid, from yonder mountain height:

What pleasure lives in height (the shepherd sang),

In height and cold, the splendour of the hills?

But cease to move so near the Heavens, and cease

To glide a sunbeam by the blasted Pine,

To sit a star upon the sparkling spire;

And come, for Love is of the valley, come,

For Love is of the valley, come thou down

And find him; by the happy threshold, he,

Or hand in hand with Plenty in the maize,

Or red with spirted purple of the vats,

Or foxlike in the vine; nor cares to walk

With Death and Morning on the silver horns,

Nor wilt thou snare him in the white ravine,

Nor find him dropt upon the firths of ice,

That huddling slant in furrow-cloven falls

To roll the torrent out of dusky doors:

But follow; let the torrent dance thee down

To find him in the valley; let the wild

Lean-headed Eagles yelp alone, and leave

The monstrous ledges there to slope, and spill

Their thousand wreaths of dangling water-smoke,

That like a broken purpose waste in air:

So waste not thou; but come; for all the vales

Await thee; azure pillars of the hearth

Arise to thee; the children call, and I

Thy shepherd pipe, and sweet is every sound,

Sweeter thy voice, but every sound is sweet;

Myriads of rivulets hurrying throí the lawn,

The moan of doves in immemorial elms,

And murmuring of innumerable bees.

 

These much-loved verses have been described as ďa summons to the valleys of domestic affection, away from the heights of idealism and abstraction.Ē This is a bit similar to the role played by my musical setting of it in Watcher.

 

In the play, a woman named Angeline is tutoring, in her living room, a small group of teenagers in English literature. One student, Nick, recites the Tennyson poem; he is also partly addressing another student, Ida, who is present. Ida is aware of Nickís infatuation with her, but she plans a career as an astrophysicist and has no interest in romance.

 

When Nick finishes, Ida speaks up, protesting his bothering her with his attentions. Idaís outburst is a complete song in its own right.

 

Nick and Ida then sing their songs again, this time simultaneously. That Ida is not entirely unmoved by Nickís recitation is shown in the music, suffused as it is with deep romantic yearning. In the quieter sections, one may sense a human heartbeat.

 

On this recording, there are no actual singers, but the violins represent Nickís words, and the flute-like sound Idaís. Please CLICK HERE to hear the music, and mentally match it to the following lyrics. (I hope the matching is not too difficult. Stereo headphones or good speakers are recommended, for the bass line adds interest to this long piece.)

 

Nick.

Away below the frozen mountain

Deep in the valley was a shepherd,

And he sang:

 

Come down, O maid, come from yonder mountain.

What pleasure lives in height and cold? Or have you stayed

To sit a star on the sparkling spire?

Love is of the valley -- Come down, O maid.

 

Youíve not found Love -- seek him in the valley.

Walk not with Death and Morning on the Silver Horns.

The children call; sweet is every sound

With the moan of doves and the murmíring bees.

 

Ida. [getting up]

Spare me these

Melodies!

 

Some serenades

May not be bad.

But I only hear the love song of the future.

Warm and soft feeling from some lad

Doesnít start to move my heart,

It only makes me mad.

 

In every class, when you ask me for supplies,

YOU MAKE ME MAD -- How can I think?

And when I pass, canít you stop tracing with your eyes?

YOU MAKE ME MAD, wanting to slink!

I need some peace -- Iíve a passion to explore,

The only love I ever had.

So can you cease dogging me -- Whatís a classroom for?

You think Iím pleased, but YOU MAKE ME MAD.

 

Nick (and Ida singing her song again in counterpoint with this).

Come down, O maid, come from yonder mountain.

(In every class, when you ask me for supplies,)

What pleasure lives in height and cold? Or have you stayed

(YOU MAKE ME MAD -- How can I think?)

To sit a star on the sparkling spire?

(And when I pass, canít you stop tracing with your eyes?)

Love is of the valley -- Come down, O maid.

(YOU MAKE ME MAD, wanting to slink!)

 

Youíve not found Love -- seek him in the valley.

(I need some peaceóIíve a passion to explore, )

Walk not with Death and Morning on the Silver Horns.

(The only love I ever had.)

The children call; sweet is every sound

(So can you cease dogging me -- Whatís a classroom for?)

With the moan of doves and the murmíring bees.

(You think Iím pleased, but YOU MAKE ME MAD.)

 

Angeline [the teacher].

Letís have peace,

Quiet, please ...

 

 

(Edited by Rodney Rawlings on 3/08, 7:46am)

(Edited by Rodney Rawlings on 3/08, 3:00pm)


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Sunday, March 7, 2004 - 4:31pmSanction this postReply
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Monday, March 15, 2004 - 6:09pmSanction this postReply
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"When Matter Touches Antimatter" (above) is another song of mine, using more instruments than this one.
(I am saying this here because the subject line for "When Matter Touches Antimatter" is not specific enough and readers interested in music might miss that thread.)


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