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baritone, piano, flute and harp

Commission: SMCQ with support from the Fonds Gilles Tremblay

Premiere: March 3, 2006, MusiMars 2006: Aurores boréales, Salle Pollack — Pavillon Strathcona — Université McGill, Montréal (Québec)

The fierceness and intensity of the fragments of Davidic psalms found here have generated a rather harsh musical setting. The three instruments inhabit the space around and beneath the voice with stark illuminations mirroring the sentiments awakened by the psalmodic questioning, at a thousand leagues from jubilation of any sort. In the midst of the desert, the voice of the baritone must pierce the fragile, discordant clouds of the piano-flute-harp trio, where other, more hopeful, prayers have been turned into pure instrumental sound. Framing the seven fragments are a prologue and an epilogue in which the singer expresses his faith, in deconstructed latin, before and after his more desperate appeals. I would like to take this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude to Gilles Tremblay.

Dixit insipiens in corde suo: non est Deus (53)
Respice exaudi me Domine Deus meus inlumina oculos meos ne umquam obdormiam in mortem (13)
Laboravi clamans raucae factae sunt fauces meae defecerunt oculi mei dum spero in Deum meum (69)
Quare faciem tuam avertis oblivisceris inopiae nostrae et tribulationis nostrae (44)
Deus quis similis erit tibi ne taceas neque conpescaris Deus (83)
Vigilavi et factus sum sicut passer solitarius in tecto (102)
Quo ibo ab spiritu tuo et quo a facie tua fugiam (139)

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
Consider, and hear me, O Lord my God. Enlighten my eyes that I never sleep in death.
I have laboured with crying; my jaws are become hoarse: my eyes have failed, whilst I hope in my God.
Why turnest thou face away? And forgettest our want and our trouble?
O God, who shall be like to thee? Hold not thy peace, neither be thou still, O God.
I have watched, and am become as a sparrow all alone on the housetop.
Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy face?