Thursday, November 24, 2011

Music for Thanksgiving

When thinking about music for Thanksgiving Day, my ear immediately starts hearing this scene from Aaron Copland's opera, The Tender Land. Here is the quintet, "The Promise of Living," from a 2010 production by the Berkeley Opera Company, sung Paul Cheak, Lee Steward, Amy Foote, Malin Fritz, Paul Murray; conducted by Philip Kuttner and directed by Elkhanah Pulitzer. (Video projection, videography and editing by Jeremy Knight).

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

For many a year I’ve known this field
And know all the work that makes them yield.
Are you ready to lend a hand?
We’re ready to work, we’re ready to lend a hand.
By working together we’ll bring in the harvest,
the blessings of harvest.

We plow 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 are here to deliver the grain.

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

The promise of ending in right understanding
Is peace in our hearts, peace with our neighbor.
The promise of living, the promise of growing,
The promise of ending is labor and sharing and loving.

-- from the libretto by Horace Everett.
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Wishing everybody a blessed and Happy Thanksgiving Day.
- Dick Strawser

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