The Tempest Songbook was composed between 1997 and 2004 and received its first complete performance in 2005. Scored for soprano and baritone with small ensemble, The Tempest Songbook is based on texts from The Tempest by William Shakespeare. The Songbook can be sung as a collection in any order, or individually.
All hail, great master! Grave Sir, hail! I come
To answer thy best pleasure; be it to fly,
To swim, to dive into the fire, to ride
On the curled clouds; to thy strong bidding task
Ariel and all his quality…
I boarded the King’s ship. Now on the beak,
Now in the waist, the deck, in every cabin,
I flamed amazement: sometime I’d divide,
And burn in many places…
…then I beat my tabor,
At which, like unbacked colts, they pricked their ears,
Advanced their eyelids, lifted up their noses
As they smelt music, so I charmed their ears.
You do look, my son, in a moved sort,
As if you were dismayed: be cheerful, sir.
[Our revels now are ended.] These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep. Sir, I am vexed;
[Bear with my weakness; my, brain is troubled:
Be not disturbed with my infirmity:
If you be pleased, retire into my cell
And there repose; ] a turn or two I’ll walk,
To still my beating mind.
If by your art, my dearest father, you have
Put the wild waters in this roar, allay them.
The sky, it seems, would pour down stinking pitch,
But that the sea, mounting to th’ welkin’s cheek
Dashes the fire out. O, I have suffered
With those that I saw suffer! [A brave vessel
Who had, no doubt, some noble creature in her
Dashed all to pieces.] O, the cry did knock
Against my very heart! Poor souls, they perished!
Had I been any god of power, I would
Have sunk the sea within the earth, or ere
It should the good ship so have swallowed, and
The fraughting souls within her.
No more amazement: tell your piteous heart
There’s no harm done.
Where should this music be? I’th’air or th’earth:
Sitting on a bank,
the King my father’s wrack,
This music crept by me upon the waters,
Allaying both their fury and my passion
With its sweet air. Thence I have followed it,
Or it hath drawn me, rather. But ‘tis gone.
No, it begins again.
Full fathom five thy father lies, Of his bones
are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade,
Both doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.