Christmas Haikus for alto (or baritone) and piano
Haikus by Canon Albert Radcliffe (who was canon at Manchester Cathedral) and asked me to set them. The music is unusual for vocal works in that it uses the octatonic mode, but this seemed particularly appropriate for the unusual angle which Canon Albert takes on the Christmas story. The song also works well for baritone voice. The recording here is from the CD Songs of Solomons and was performed by Stephen Taylor (countertenor) and Jonathan Leonard (piano), who have given permission for use of their performance.
I said to the snow, "Show me what you know of God." Brightness blinded me.
To the stars I said, "Speak then from a gentler light." Their word was silence.
I called to the wind, "Whisper the glory of God." Its breath took my breath.
I asked the holly "What do you know of his love?" Her thorns drew my blood.
©Canon Albert E Radcliffe (Manchester Cathedral, UK)
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