setting words to music:
Dona Nobis Pacem.
Artistic genius, both
united inevitably in performance.
I sing through tears, their
requiem for fallen Father and Son.
Trifecta Challenge Week 75: a thirty-three word “free-write” about anything.
Walt Whitman (American poet, essayist, humanist and journalist) wrote several realistic and dramatic, war-themed verses. Ralph Vaughan Williams (English composer of symphonies, chamber music, opera, choral music, and film scores) set several Whitman poems to music, including “Dona Nobis Pacem”: a cantata for soloists, orchestra and chorus. The music of Vaughan Williams is deeply moving and evocative. However, this piece especially touches my heart, adding unexpected dimension to Whitman’s eloquence.
I am privileged to be joining 200 fellow choristers in performing this work at the Berkshire Choral Festival on July 20. As I prepare this music, I’m blown away by the emotion conveyed through the words and music; wherein, the sadness and horror of war is set starkly and beautifully against a plaintively desperate prayer for peace.
“Dirge for Two Veterans” – the subject of this post – dramatizes a funeral march for a father and his son, who were killed in the same battle. I choke up each time I try to sing this
A utube link follows for those who would like to listen to this moving piece: