WRTI broadcast notes...

THE NATIONAL ANTHEMS TOUR

music of David Lang, Caroline Shaw, and Ted Hearne
with the strings of the International Contemporary Ensemble
performances in Princeton, Washington, and Philadelphia


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Where does patriotism end and nationalism begin?  How do we remain open to all and true to ourselves?  In this concert, Caroline Shaw's 2016 study on displacement and immigration is balanced with David Lang's meditation on the nature of national anthems.  Lang writes:

“I had the idea that if I looked carefully at every national anthem I might be able to identify something that everyone in the world could agree on….Hiding in every national anthem is the recognition that we are insecure about our freedoms, that freedom is fragile, and delicate, and easy to lose. “


 

program
 

Consent                                                                                   Ted Hearne

* To The Hands                                                                        Caroline Shaw
          from Seven Responses

What It Might Say                                                                 Hearne
          from Jeff Quartets

the national anthems                                                           David Lang
    

† available on our CD, Sound From The Bench
*  
available on our CD, Seven Responses

The Crossing’s concerts are recorded by Paul Vazquez of Digital Mission Audio Services @ digitalmissiononline.com

 

Consent 

Ted Hearne (b. 1982)

 

A note from the composer:

          "The purpose of these untranslated and mystical utterances was to sidestep the Devil and to reach God directly." 
                     - Teju Cole, in an essay about Loquebantur Variis Linguis and the tradition of "speaking in tongues."

          "There is a gestalt that orders things together, and if you pull back further, there's another order there;
          the things are arranged they are for some reason, it might not be a rational reason, but there is a reason."
                     - David Byrne, regarding his album with Talking Heads, Speaking in Tongues

I originally wrote Consent to be paired with a performance of the remarkably beautiful motet Loquebantur Variis Linguis by Thomas Tallis, in which the composer sets the text "the apostles spoke in different tongues."

The above ideas — that to communicate with the holy spirit one had to bypass language entirely, that the structure and meaning of language is inextricably linked to the power structures and hierarchies that created it —set me on a journey to explore language that might have a duplicitous role in my own life.

The text for Consent is a juxtaposition of passages from five different sources: love letters I wrote in 2002, love letters my father wrote in 1962, the Catholic Rite of Marriage, the Traditional Jewish Ketubah (wedding contract), and text messages by high-school students Trent Mays and Lucas Herrington that were used as evidence in the infamous Stuebenville Rape Trial in 2013. I set these words in order to explore my personal relationship to gender inequality and our connection to language that justifies sexual violence.


 

text culled by the composer, from the following sources:
love letters I wrote in 2006
love letters my father wrote in 1962

The Catholic Rite of Marriage
Traditional Jewish Ketubah (Wedding contract)

text messages by Trent Mays and Lucas Herrington, 
used as evidence in the Steubenville Rape Trial, 2013

 

i want you
i want to

i want you
i want to

i want you
i want to

I do.

I was thinking penetrating thoughts about you
It will be good, we can do it, and we need it.

                  It can be taken from me - even from the shirt on my back.

I was thinking penetrating thoughts about you
It will be good, we can do it, and we need it
I miss you too, in a heart-aching kind of way.

                  All of it shall be mortgageable and bound as security - 
                  It can be taken from me - even from the shirt on my back.

I do.
                                    I just took care of your daughter.

* * *

Declare your consent
The missing you hurts
You’ll be in it soon
What a way to feel
Who gives this woman

* * *

i want you
i want to

                  All of it shall be mortgageable - 
                                    I just took care of your daughter
                  and bound as security -
                                    she said you could take a picture

i want you
i want to

                                    I just took care of your daughter and made sure she was safe
                                    she was so in love with me that night
                  I ask you to state your intentions

                  All of it shall be mortgageable and bound as security -
                  it can be taken from me, even from the shirt on my back - 
                  during my lifetime and after this lifetime,
                  this day and forever.

                                    I just took care of your daughter and made sure she was safe
                                    she said you could take a picture
                                    she looks dead lmao

* * *
I do.

I was thinking penetrating thoughts about you
It will be good, we can do it, and we need it.
I miss you too, in a heart-aching kind of way
I’m really looking forward to adding to it

                  All of it can be mortgageable and bound as security - 
                  it can be taken from me - even from the shirt on my back - 
                  during my lifetime and after this lifetime
                  this day and forever

                                    How have you been holding out on me with that picture for so long?
                                    she said you could take a picture
                                    oh i am looking at all my pictures of you

You don’t even want to know what I’m imagining you doing right now
she was so in love with me that night
                  Declare your consent before God

                                    I just took care of your daughter when she was drunk

* * *

                                    This original amount, I accept upon myself and my heirs after me - 
                                    It can be paid from the best part of my property and possessions
                                    that I own under all the heavens. 
                                    All of it shall be mortgageable and bound as security -
                                    it can be taken from me - even from the shirt on my back - 
                                    during my lifetime and after this lifetime - 
                                    from this day and forever.

                  even from the shirt on my back
                  she said you could take a picture
                  I refuse to get excited

                                    Will you accept children lovingly from God? 
                                    Declare your consent before God and the church.

I felt knowing what was right  
she looks dead lmao
i just took care of your daughter

but i also know we are equal to almost any…
she said you could take a picture

Who gives this woman?

the national anthems 

David Lang (b. 1957)

 

A note from the composer:

Every country has a history – how it came to be, how its wars were won or lost, how strong its people are, or how proud, or how sad.  We group ourselves into nations, but it has never really been clear to me what that means, or what we get out of it.  Are we grouped together because we believe something together and are proud of associating with others who believe the same way?  Or are we grouped together because our ancestors found themselves pushed onto a piece of land by people who didn’t want them on theirs?  It seems that all nations have some bright periods and some dark periods in their past.  Building a national myth out of our bright memories probably creates a different character than if we build one out of the dark.

I had the idea that if I looked carefully at every national anthem I might be able to identify something that everyone in the world could agree on.  If I could take just one hopeful sentence from the national anthem of every nation in the world I might be able to make a kind of meta-anthem of the things that we all share.  I started combing through the anthems, pulling out from each the sentence that seemed to me the most committed.  What I found, to my shock and surprise, was that within almost every anthem is a bloody, war-like, tragic core, in which we cover up our deep fears of losing our freedoms with waves of aggression and bravado.

At first I didn’t know what to do with this text.  I didn’t want to make a piece that was aggressive, or angry, or ironic.  Instead, I read and re-read the meta-anthem I had made until another thought became clear to me.  Hiding in every national anthem is the recognition that we are insecure about our freedoms, that freedom is fragile, and delicate, and easy to lose.  Maybe an anthem is a memory informing a kind of prayer, a heartfelt plea:

There was a time when we were forced to live in chains.
Please don’t make us live in chains again.
 


 

I. 

our land with peace

our land with swords

all of us are brave

we have one wish

we have one goal

we swear by lightning

and by our fragrant blood

heaven gave us life 

and we alone remain

we fight for peace

our country calls us

and we hear her call

we hear the sound of our chains breaking

we crown ourselves in glory and we die

death is the same for everyone

but dying for our land will make us blessed

for we are young and free

land with mountain

land with river

land with field

if you need our death

our blood, our heart, our soul

we are ready

we lift our heads up to the rising sun

our peace

our values

our skies

our hearts

our songs

our tears

our time

our land

our seed

our pride

we have no doubts or fears

our faithful friends 

are faithful in the battle

our land, we swear to you

our blood is yours to spill

keep watch, angels

keep watch, stars

keep watch, moon

our parents knew how to fight

the sun will shine on us forever

when the wicked come

let them prepare for death

for we would rather die

than live as slaves

our land, you fill our souls with fire

our blessed land

our parents left this land to us

our hearts defy our deaths

a vivid ray of love and hope descends 

upon us and our land

bless us with long life

our land is love and beauty without end

harvest our vows, which ripen underneath your sun

our land, to lead a peaceful life

we give our lives

we were wounded

we were bruised

then we rose up

our past is sleeping in our forests

you are our garden

and our grave

 

II.

our hearts are glowing

sing brother, sister

our freedom must be sung

we were slaves

we were scorned

but now, our future is ours

our flowers

our fields

our fertile soil

we will die before we let

the wicked step upon them

we are not slaves

we are the seed that sprouts

upon the fields of pain

we are one blood

on our land we were born

our heads were bowed –

now raise them

we are wild with joy

and if we have to die

what does it matter?

our children know

the fight has made our faces glow

sweet shelter

kissed by our sun, our trees, our wind

 we don’t fear death

die for our land and live

we know our selves

by our terrifying sword

ours is our land

ours is our beautiful land

our land is where

our heroes rest

our earth

our sky

our peace

our blood

these are our gifts

we broke our chains

united, firm, determined

our face is brighter than our sun

we are our loyal guardian

in each of us the hero remembers how to fight

we walk the path of happiness

to our rightful place

with our last breath

we thank ourselves

 

III.

fame and glory

fame and glory

no valley

no hill

no water

no shore

the bloody flag is raised

the wicked howl

they come to cut our throats

to throw us back in chains

no sorcerers

no poison

no deceivers

no fear

we strive

we work

we pray

our star rises up

and shines between two seas

our heart and hand

are the pledges of our fortune

with mind and strength of arm

we recognize ourselves

by our terrifying sword

with heads, with hearts, with hands

we will die before we are made slaves

 our historic past

our sun, our sweat, our sea

our pain, our hope

the flower of our blood

branches of the same trunk

eyes in the same light

the sea, the land, the dawn, the sun are singing

our parents never saw the glory that we see

we turn our faces up

there is a star, the clearest light

bring us happier times and ways

each day is like a thousand years

victory, victory, victory

long live our land, our people, our body, our soul

the light in our eyes is the brilliance of our faith

will we see you? 

our woe or our wealth

our eyes turn east

we are awake   

 

IV.

keep us free

be our light

until pebbles turn to boulders 

and are covered in moss

our light and our guide

golden sun, golden seed

fill our hearts with thanks

when our hearts beat as one

show us the way

until the mountains wear away

and the seas run dry

be safe and be glorious

build our own fortune

move forward

our sons sing

our daughters bloom

our parents and our children

await our call

our peace

our rain

be green

we are your sacrifice

fortunate and faithful

the sun drives off the clouds

we risk everything

we sing new songs

for you, for you, for ever

our love, our zeal, our loyalty

our land, where our blood spills

our fields will flower with hope

our land gives us our name

and we will never leave

we walk the path we have chosen

we will die while we are on it

our land, sweet is your beauty

a thousand heroes

our full measure of devotion

our language is a burning flame

our flag flies in the wind

our unwavering land

our rocky hills

from where our lights rise up

our name is freedom

our blood waters it

we pray for you

woven from a hundred flowers

we won’t let the wicked wash their hands

in this guiltless blood of ours

may our blessings flow

let nothing dim the light

that’s shining in our sky

a single leap

into the dazzling sky

obey our call

we are not many

but we are enough

be happy

and may our land be happy

interpret our past

glorify our present

inspire our future

we are coming forth

with strength and power

our seas roar at our feet

shout our name

shout it again

there is no middle ground

between the free man and the slave

may the light be denied us

if we break our solemn vow

the burning of the heart

in our chests is alive

our land will not die

as long as we live

the rays of the sun

are a mother’s kiss

we swear by the sky

by the spreading light

now, or never

we will make our fate ourselves

it was, it is, it will always be

at last, our pride is worth our pride

 
V.

our common fate

our brighter day

our loyalty and love and vow

our crown

our virtuous honor

our sacred hymn of combat

our light, reflecting guidance

our sword with no flaw

our sepulcher of ages

our only land

our voices on high

our noble aspiration

our thunders, wildly beating

our fire in every vein

our tears, flowing down our cheeks

our everlasting mountains

our milk, our honey, our people working hard

our different voices, our one heart

our breath of life

our death, our glory and our land

our fight – there is a fight to fight

our fair land, its hills and rivers

our memories of days long gone

our morning skies, grown red

our sacred home, our suns that never set

our future is the future, our meaning is the meaning

our shields are wisdom, unity and peace

our sacrifice of every drop of blood

our love, our service, our untiring zeal

our prayer for us, unseen

our fires of hope and prayer

our thunderbolts, our fire

our star, and it will shine forever

our light and song and soul

our song forever more

our own dear land

our fate, which smiles once more

our sacrifice, our blood, our souls

our enemies, scattered and confounded

our land, our home, our free, our brave

our land, our grave

our glory, for as long as the world shines

our many ways before and our many ways today

our rock, our beacon

our scream out loud

our steps, resounding on the long and tiring road

our song – echoing over and over again

our brothers and sisters under the sun

 

may the rains come

The Crossing

Donald Nally, conductor
John Grecia, accompanist

Katy Avery
Jessica Beebe
Julie Bishop
Karen Blanchard
Steven Bradshaw
Colin Dill
Micah Dingler
Robert Eisentrout
Ryan Fleming
Joanna Gates
Dimitri German
Steven Hyder
Michael Jones
Heather Kayan
Maren Montalbano
Rebecca Myers
Daniel O’Dea
Becky Oehlers
Daniel Schwartz
Daniel Spratlan
Rebecca Siler
Elisa Sutherland 

Strings of the International Contemporary Ensemble

Jen Curtis
Tony Flynt
Chris Gross
Josh Modney
Wendy Richman