June 28, 2017

A Song For Our Planet (2012)

Listen to Audio

I. Earth Sinfonia 3’39”
II. The Glory of God 3’20”
III. Let Us Adore 6’58”
IV. Our Wounded Planet
 Earth Requiem (IVb)
 6’20”
V. We Have Forgotten 3’50”
VI. Come Forth Into the Light 4’30”
VII. Peace 2’55”
VIII. Finale 4’50”
Recordings: Various (see below)

for soprano and baritone soli, SATB chorus, and chamber orchestra:
flute, clarinet, horn, trumpet, percussion, piano, and strings.
Level: medium, 36’32”
Purchase Piano Vocal Score

Program Notes:

“All the world’s great faith traditions give thanks for the glory of God’s creation. In recent years they have also worked on environmental stewardship individually, in interfaith partnerships and with private agencies and governments. A Song for Our Planet celebrates that work and integrates sacred texts from the Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish and Taoist traditions. Out of respect for the beliefs of many Muslims, no verses from the Koran are included out of respect for the beliefs of many Muslims that the Qu’ran must not be set to music; rather, we include passages by Jalal ad-Din Muhammad RumT, the 13th-century Muslim poet, theologian, and Sufi mystic.

The libretto has an arching form that moves from praise of God’s creation and acknowledgement of humanity’s harm of the earth to a commitment for change. It concludes in hope for peaceful coexistence and celebration of all earth’s creatures. We hope that performances of A Song for Our Planet may inspire people to explore “creation-friendly” practices both in their daily lives and in their sanctuaries, classrooms, and concert halls.”

—Vicky Thomas and Henry Mollicone

Audio

(Back to Top)
Recording: Combined choirs of Seattle First Baptist and Plymouth Church UCC
Conducted by Vicky Thomas and Douglas Cleveland
Soloists: Karen Burlingame, Soprano; Charles Robert Stevens, Baritone

Purchase Recording

Recording: San José Symphonic Choir, Leroy Kromm, Music Director
With the Mission Chamber Orchestra, Emily Ray, Music Director
Soloists: Milena Georgieva, Soprano; Christian Pursell, Baritone
Performed at the California Theatre, San Jose, CA, May 15th 2016
(Excerpted Performance)

Lyrics

I. Earth Sinfonia

(instrumental)

II. The Glory of God

The glory of God is every living thing through all the earth.
The earth is God’s, and all the things of the world.

—Psalm 24: 1

Let everything that breathes sing praises to God!

—Psalm 150: 6

The heavens declare the glory of God.
In every star your wisdom shines;
And when our eyes behold the world,
We read your name in every line.

O Sun, moon, and stars, display your power
Round the whole earth and never stand;
As God’s creative breath gives life
To all that lives in every land.

—Isaac Watts

This wonder that all faiths confess,
This earth which gives us all we need
Is crying, heaving, battered, stressed
To breaking by incessant greed.
O God of wonders, now we pray:
O listen to our song.
We need the wisdom of your ways
To help us right this wrong.
We sing to you this song!

—VLT

III. Let Us Adore

Let us adore the Light divine, who is in fire, who is in water, who is in plants and trees, who pervades the whole universe.

—Shvetashvatara Upanishad 2:17 (Hindu)

Light lives in the flowing water and all the stars in heaven sing praise. But we must truly love this divine light, and take care of this delicate flower, the earth. Frail, O frail this flower, the earth, as frail as the dew.

—HM

They who selfishly try to control all that is under heaven, they do not succeed. Like a sacred vessel, it is reckless to control it. They that alter it destroy it.

—The Tao Te Ching #29

IV. Our Wounded Planet

God is the creator of heaven and them that dwell therein;
Also of water and of earth, and them that dwell therein.

—Jalal ad-Din Muhammad RumI, Masnavi I Ma’navi, 3:13

But we have soiled God’s holy creation;
For we cover the face of the whole earth, so that the land is darkened. We devour the herbs of the land, and all the fruit of the trees; and soon there will remain
nothing green in the forests or the fields, through all the lands of the earth.
And the seas become salt like the tears of God.

—Exodus 10:15

Kyrie eleison. (Lord, have mercy.)

—Roman Catholic Mass

V. We Have Forgotten

We have forgotten who we are.
We have alienated ourselves from the unfolding of the cosmos.
We have become estranged from the movements of the Earth.
We have turned our backs on the cycles of life.
Now the land is barren and the waters are poisoned and the air is polluted
Now the forests are dying and the creatures are disappearing and humans are despairing.
We ask for forgiveness. We ask for the gift of remembering.
We ask for the strength to change.

—U.N. Environmental Sabbath Program

VI. Come Forth

Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher.

—William Wordsworth

Ask the animals, and they will teach you; And the birds of the air, and they will tell you;
Speak to the earth, and it will answer you.

—Job 12: 7 -10

All religions are in substance one and the same.
In adorations, benedictions of the righteous,
the praises of all the prophets are kneaded together.

All their praises are mingled into one stream.

—Rumi, Masnavi I Ma’navi, 3:12

O God, hear the voice of one.

I am only one; but still I am one.
I cannot do everything; but still I can do something,
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.

—Edward Everett Hale, Unitarian minister

VII. Peace

Peace of the running wave to you. Peace of the flowing air to you.
Peace of the quiet earth to you. Peace of the shining stars to you.
Peace of the gentle night to you. Earth and sky always granting joy to you.

—Celtic Prayer

VIII. Finale

To the Creator I cry! Move, move, my defilement-free One!
Come, come, hear, hear, a joy springs up in me! Speak, speak, give me direction!
Awakened, awakened, I have awakened!

—Litany of Great Compassion (Buddhist)

May all beings be at peace. Whatever living beings there may be,
Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
The great or the mighty, medium, short, or small,
The seen and the unseen, those living near and far away, those born and to-be-born.
May all beings be at peace.

—Metta Suttra, Buddhist prayer

May all live on the earth with compassion and in peace. And then, and only then,

We shall go out with hearts of joy,
and be led forth with peace and righteousness:
The mountains and the hills break forth before you in song,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
And all the life of the earth will shout for joy! Let everything sing praise!

—Isaiah 55:12

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