KU Choirs: Treble Choir & Chamber Singers - Oct. 24, 2021

The University of Kansas Chamber Choir

Eduardo Garcia-Novelli, conductor

Benjamin Kendall, doctoral teaching assistant

Daniel Natzke, accompanist

The University of Kansas Treble Choir

Eduardo Garcia-Novelli, conductor

Benjamin Kendall, doctoral teaching assistant

Rob Hobgood, accompanist

Text, Notes, and Translations

On Water…

Artistic Director of the Colorado ChoraleKevin Padworski (b. 1987) is a very active composer, conductor, saxophone player, pianist and organist. He holds a DMA degree in Choral Conducting and Literature from the University of Colorado Boulder and a Master’s degree in Choral Conducting for the University of Denver. Professional appearances include the Colorado Repertory Singers, Colorado Choral Arts Society, Colorado Symphony, Colorado Symphony Chorus, Cincinnati Youth Choir, Dallas Symphony, DCINY Concerts Orchestra, Mid-America Concert Productions, Evans Choir, Jubilate Deo Chorale and Orchestra, Lamont Symphony Orchestra, New England Wind Ensemble, Opera Colorado, University of Denver, Stratus Chamber Orchestra, American Baptist Churches USA.

I saw water flowing from the temple,
On the right side, alleluia:
And all to whom that water came
Have been saved, and they will say: alleluia.

Bring Me Little Water, Silvy

Bring Me Little Water, Silvy is an arrangement of a song by the great black folk and blues singer Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter written by Moira Smiley, a creative, imaginative American composer, singer-song writer who collaborates with artists in film, video game productions, theatre and dance. Smiley´s work can be heard on feature film soundtracks, BBC and PBS television programs, NPR, and more than 70 commercial albums. She is a graduate of Indiana University with a degree in early music vocal performance.

Bring me little water Silvy
Bring me little water now
Bring me little water Silvy
Ev’ry little once in a while.

Silvy come a runnin’
Bucket in my hand
I will bring a little water 
Fast as I can.

Bring it in a bucket Silvy
Bring it in a bucket now
Bring it in a bucket Silvy
Ev’ry little once in a while.

Can’t you see me omin’
Can’t you see me now
I will bring a little water 
Ev’ry little once in a while.

The Water of Tyne

The Water of Tyne is a traditional English folk song about a girl pining for her loved one across banks of the Tyne river. The earliest known publication of the song dates back to 1812 but it is probable that the origins go further as the Tyne was once considered part of the border between England and Scotland. She pleads for a boatman to take her across or to bring her lover home. This arrangement, by Paul Ayers, sets the tune to an interesting 5/8 meter with a simple guitar-like plucking accompaniment. The offset of the pulse gives the illusion of no pulse at all. The listener is allowed into the intimate space of lamenting soul.

I cannot get to my love if I would dee.
The water of Tyne runs between him and me,
And here I must stand with a tear in my e’e,
Both sighing and sickly my sweetheart to see.

Oh, where is the boatman, my bonny hinny?
Oh, where is the boatman, oh, bring him to me!
To ferry me over the Tyne to me hinny,
And I will remember the boatman and thee.

Oh, bring me a boatman, I’ll give any money,
And you for your trouble rewarded shall be,
To ferry me over the Tyne to my hinny,
Or scull him across that rough river to me.

Sky Boat Song

Sky Boat Song is a Scottish folk song that tells the tale of Prince Charles Edward Stuart after his loss at the Battle of Culloden in 1746. Here he is disguised as a serving made and is escaping to the Isle of Skye. The original lyrics were written in the 1870’s by Sir Harold Boulton, but the more famous version is that of Robert Louis Stevenson in 1892, which is used in this setting by Paul Langford. Here it is in a lilting 3/4 pattern accompanied only by a drum, which gives it a tribal-like rhythmic drive. This folk song may be recognizable as it has been used in many television shows and movies, including the popular Outlander TV series as part of its opening credits.

Sing me a song of a lass that is gone.
Merry of soul she sailed on a day over the sea to Skye.
Mull was astern, Rum on the port, Eigg on the starboard bow.
Glory of youth glowed in his soul. Where is that glory now?

Sing me a song of a lass that is gone.
Merry of soul she sailed on a day over the sea to Skye.
Give me again all that was there, give me the sun that shone.
Give me the eyes, give me the soul. Give me the lad that’s gone.

Sing me a song of a lass that is gone.
Say, could that lass be I?
Merry of soul she sailed on a day over the sea to Skye.
Billow and breeze, islands and seas, mountains of rain and sun.
All that was good, all that was fair, all that was me is gone.


By definition, a tundra is a geographic area that has at least one month with an average temperature higher than 32° F but no month with an average temperature above 50° F. This climate is found in Arctic, Antarctic, and in Alpine regions such as the Hardangervidda mountain plateau in Norway, for which this song was written. Tundra, by Ola Gjeilo, was set to the lyrics by his friend (and Lawrence resident) Charles Anthony Silvestri based on the title and photos of the plateau. The work was commissioned by the ACDA Women’s R&S Commission Consortium. The listener will hear the sounds depicting the icy climate but with all its beauty and vastness as it gradually grows to a musical climax and then decays into nothing as if it were one long gust of wind.

Wide, worn and weathered,
Sacred expanse
Of green and white and granite grey;
Snowy patches strewn,

Anchored to the craggy earth,
While clouds dance
Across the vast, eternal sky. 

Like a River in My Soul

Like a River in My Soul is an emotional setting of a traditional spiritual arranged by Tim Osiek. It is unknown where the text originated but is believed to have ties to the book of Isaiah. The tune has been published in dozens of hymnals from many denominational backgrounds. This setting places the listener at ease with its flowing accompaniment as the vocal harmonies and singable melody soar effortlessly above. As the music swells, it never loses the sense of peaceful purpose, and brings the work to a close with the quiet iteration, “I’ve got joy like a fountain, love like an ocean, peace like a river in my soul.”

I’ve got peace like a river, like a river in my soul.
I’ve got peace like a river, soothing river, calmly flow.
When the world closes in, feel the stillness within.
I’ve got peace like a river, like a river in my soul.

I’ve got love like an ocean, like an ocean in my soul.
I’ve got love like an ocean, endless ocean, deep and full.
When you’re lost and alone, let the waves bring you home.
I’ve got love like an ocean, like an ocean in my soul.

I’ve got joy like a fountain, like a fountain in my soul.
I’ve got joy like a fountain, like a fountain in my soul.
When your hope nearly dies, just remember, once again you shall rise!
I’ve got joy like a fountain, Love like an ocean, 
Peace like a river in my soul.

On Nature…

Estonian composer Veljo Tormis (1930-2017) was one of the most prominent figures in choral music composition of the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st, with a prolific output of over 500 works. Kanarbik is the seventh movement from Sügismaastikud (Autumn Landscapes) written in 1964, the last composition before Tormis’s full folk song conversion. Written two years after his visit to Hungary, commentators observe an indebtedness to Kodály, particularly with the expansion of his harmonic and textural palette.

Sad purple heather-bell 
frantically blazes, 
capturing aftermost flickering sunlight. 

And all else is as always,
as ever the meadows,
as ever the roads, 
only over them burning, 
flaring the planet aflame

Maine born poet Edna St. Vincent Millay was the first woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1923. In Afternoon on a Hill, she focuses on a recurrent subject in her writing career: rejuvenation through observation of nature. Eric Barnum’s sensitive setting, published in 2008, made an immediate impact in the American Choral scene. Barnum´s writing is full of clever text painting ideas, which we invite you to look for, listen carefully, and enjoy!

I will be the gladdest thing
      Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
      And not pick one.

I will look at cliffs and clouds
      With quiet eyes,
Watch the wind bow down the grass,
      And the grass rise.

And when lights begin to show
      Up from the town,
I will mark which must be mine,
      And then start down!

Mountains is the first movement of Due North, one in a series of four choral suites that explore the cultural and natural wonders of various regions of North America. Stephen Chatman's choral settings are broad in scope; the tone painting evokes the stunning landscapes and their diverse communities. Canadian-American composer Dr. Chatman was educated at the Oberlin Conservatory and at the University of Michigan. He joined the faculty at the University of British Columbia in 1976, where he serves as Head of Composition.

Mountains jagged tree-spiked slopes,
radiant peaks stunning mountains,
towering, beautiful mountains.

Ysaye Maria Barnwell (b. 1946) is an American singer and composer. Barnwell was a member of the African American a cappella ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock from 1979 to 2013. Breaths, written in 1980, is based on an adaptation of a text by Birago Diop. In addition to writing many of the group's songs,[2]

Listen more often to things than to beings.
‘Tis the ancestors’ breath when the fire’s voice is heard.
‘Tis the ancestors’ breath in the voice of the waters.

Those who have died, have never, never left.
The dead are not under the earth.
They are in the rustling trees, they are in the groaning woods.
They are in the crying grass. They are in the moaning rocks.
The dead are not under the earth.

Those who have died, have never, never left.
The dead have a pact with the living.
They are in the woman’s breast, they are in the wailing child.
They are with us in the home. They are with us in the crowd.
The dead have a pact with the living.

Barnwell has been commissioned to create music for dance, choral, film, and stage productions. She is also known for being a female bass. Barnwell conducts music workshops around the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, including a workshop she created called "Building a Vocal Community: Singing in the African American Tradition". In 1977, she founded the Jubilee Singers, a choir at All Souls Church, Unitarian in Washington, DC.[3]

György Orbán, Romanian born Hungarian composer, has served as professor at the famed Liszt Academy of Music since 1982. He is a prolific choral composer (ten masses, four oratorios, over a hundred short choral works), where he developed a style that combines an admiration for music of the past, particularly liturgical Renaissance and Baroque, and Jazz elements. The text for Mundi renovatio was written by Adam de St. Victor (Le Breton) born in 1130, depicting how the world is in constant renovation and change, and makes a comparison with the Resurrection of the Lord. Orbán infuses this text with a restless rhythmic and melodic drive, a true tour-de-force of sorts, in constant change and with an unexpected, dramatic end.

The fire glows and flickers,
the air rises softly,
the water rises and collects in the valley,
the earth waits for rain.
What s light forces upwards
while heavy things sink,
everything in the world reforms itself anew.

No cloud shows in the heavens,
the sea is calm,
the wind blows soft and quietly.
the slopes are blooming again,
the barren countryside is green again,
the sun shines warmly,
spring is here.

The whole world is born again,
new joys are calling.
Just as the Lord rose again,
everything is filling with life,
everything feels the power of its creator,
the elements serve the Lord.

In 1947, a popular Western novel by A. B. Guthrie was published called, "The Big Sky." It dealt with the Oregon trail and the development of Montana from 1830. The title stuck and in 1967 it became one of the official state nicknames. Seth Houston was working at a guest ranch in Montana the summer after his freshman year of college and wrote the lyrics to this song. The “Big Sky” had not been characteristic that summer as it was riddled with a “cold and wet” climate. However, he went on to write the music in the style of Sacred Harp, music with origins in New England and perpetuated in the American south. It is characterized by hearty, raw, and natural singing with alternating homophonic and polyphonic passages. The pulse is strong and march-like.

When the way is clear, and sunlight shines,
We pursue our way.
With nary a fear we follow straight lines,
Day after blinding day.

But the path gets blocked and the sky turns black,
Forcing us to pause,
And leave, with shock, our narrow track
For one with fewer flaws.

When the sky is blue and grass is green,
We seldom check to see
If our pathway through this verdant scene
Leads toward harmony.

Then danger shakes our selfish minds,
We look to the sky,
New lives to make, new paths to find;

Listen to her reply:

“Live your lives,” says she, “with keen respect
For your brothers of the earth.
To be truly free, you must protect them
With majesty and mirth.

The ocean and air, forest, hill, and plain,
Animal in flight,
Are in your care, rejoice in the rain,
And walk the way of light!”

Stars I Shall Find

Stars I Shall Findis a song of hope for the one who is searching for it. It is a calm assurance that the search is not in vain and that there is joy to be found in the journey. The lyrics were written by a girl who saw the stars as a source of inspiration and helped her keep going. Sadly, her depression won out and she ended her life. David Dickau renews her search for hope in this beautiful setting where the piano and chorus walk together as equals. The work is full of lush sonorities and beautiful, arching lines. The tempo slows near the end as the final statement iterates the musical stillness as “holy and low.”

There will be rest, and sure stars shining
There will be rest, and sure stars shining
Over the rooftops crowned with snow.
A reign of rest, serene forgetting,
The music of stillness holy and low.

I will make this world of my devising,
Out of a dream in my lonely mind,
I shall find the crystal of peace, above me
Stars I shall find, Stars I shall find.
There will be rest, and sure stars shining,
The music of stillness holy and low.

The Creation

The Creation by Joseph Haydn, is one of his most acclaimed works from the Classical period, and one of the most celebrated oratorios in history, still being widely performed today. Its theme centers on the first seven days of creation according to the Bible. Achieved is the Glorious Work is based on Genesis 2:1-3 and takes place after the sixth day as it celebrates the completion of creation since God rests on the seventh day. In typical Haydn fashion, the music is celebratory and replete with bursts of sounds characterized by dotted rhythms, anacrusis entrances, points of imitation, and a large declamatory ending.

Achieved is the glorious work;
The Lord beholds it and is pleas’d.
In lofty strains let us rejoice;
Our song let be the praise of God.

Night – Day

The idea of night has captivated poets and composers alike for ages, describing the end of a long day, the moment of darkness, of quietness, of solitude. Die NachtHerzogenber’s rendition of Joseph von Eichendorff’s poem perhaps pays homage to his friend Johannes Brahms’s O schöne Nacht, with a very similar opening and even the same choice of key (E-Major)Yet it differs by using a highly chromatic language for the core of the poignantly descriptive text, albeit flanked by the stability of …Night is like a calm sea.

Night is like a calm sea.
Longing and sorrow and lamentations of love 
come here so entangled in the gentle lapping of waves.

Wishes are like clouds on high, sailing through the still expanses. 
Who can tell in gentle winds, whether thinking, whether dreaming?
Should I now close heart and mouth, they so oft to stars complaining: 
Softly in my heart so deep still the gentle waves are breaking.
Night is like a calm sea.

Emily Dickinson gently asks… Will there really be a morning? Is there such a thing as day? It seems as though she is asking these questions from the middle of the night, or a moment of darkness, or even perhaps of self-doubt. Craig Hella-Johnson masterfully captures the idea, providing a hopeful and truly beautiful musical resolution in this exquisite duet.

Will there really be a "Morning"?
Is there such a thing as "Day"?
Could I see it from the mountains
If I were as tall as they?
Has it feet like Water lilies?
Has it feathers like a Bird?
Is it brought from famous countries
Of which I have never heard?

Oh some Scholar! Oh some Sailor!
Oh some Wise Men from the skies!
Please to tell a little Pilgrim
Where the place called "Morning" lies!

Reggel (Morning)

Reggel (Morning), written in 1955 by celebrated Hungarian-Austrian composer György Ligeti (1923-2006) is part of a set of two works Éjszaka és reggel (Night and Morning) based on texts by Hungarian poet Sándor Weöres. In a perhaps more youthful compositional style, Ligeti explores canonic rhythmic writing and an increased sense of tone clusters building up to a very dramatic closure, yet including the humorous Kikeriki ("Cock-a-doodle-do"), signifying the beginning of the day.

Ring, ticktock, ticktock bell!
And the clock ticks wishing well!
At dawn, cockadoodledoo, the cock cries and the duck too. 

Our Place

What a Wonderful World

What a Wonderful World has been a well-known favorite all around the world since its initial release in 1967 with Louis Armstrong as the soloist. George Weiss and Bob Thiele had written it with Armstrong in mind. And although it did not ever hit number one in the United States, it did in the United Kingdom. Only in 1988 did it reach number seven in the US because of its connection to the movie, Good Morning, Vietnam. The message of the song has made it enduring to this day. René Clausen’s arrangement helps propel positivity and beauty in a world that is clouded with negativity and pessimism. It is set with jazz chords and rhythmic nuances, sustaining a smooth, rich interplay between the supportive lower voices and the melodic treble. He captures the essence of the text and in a nurturing way says what we all need to hear: “I love you.”

I see trees of green, red roses too,
I see them bloom for me and you,
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.
I see skies of blue and clouds of white,
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night,
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

The color of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people goin’ by,
I see friends shakin’ hands, saying, “How do you do?”
They’re really saying, “I love you.”

I hear babies cry, I watch them grow,
They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.