February 20, 2018

Songs of the Human Spirit (2010)

(Click on titles for lyrics/audio)

Invocation 1’32”
The Soul Would Have No Rainbow
A Shoshone Love Song
An Aztec Prayer
A Sioux Prayer
(Recording: Nancy Wait-Kromm, soprano; Henry Mollicone, piano)

Song cycle for soprano, flute, and piano
Level: medium, 11’26”
Purchase Score

Program Notes:

These songs, based upon old Native American texts, were commissioned by soprano Nancy Wait-Kromm. The songs are spiritual in nature, and include an invocation for solo flute, prayers, and a love song. I felt the need to include a flute in the accompaniment, although I have made no attempt to use authentic elements of Native American music, as I do not have the knowledge and skill to do this. The poems themselves have been my inspiration, and the music is in my own lyrical style.

—Henry Mollicone



The Soul Would Have No Rainbow

The soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears.

—John Vance Cheney

A Shoshone Love Song

Fair is the white star of twilight,
And the sky clearer at the day’s end;
But he is fairer, and he is dearer, He, my heart’s friend.
Far stars and fair in the skies bending,
Low stars of hearth fires and wood smoke ascending.
The meadowlark’s nested, the nighthawk is winging,
home through the star shine the hunter comes singing.
Fair is the white star of twilight,
And the moon roving to the sky’s end;
But he is fairer, he is better worth loving.
He, my heart’s friend.


An Aztec Prayer

Lord most giving and resourceful,
I implore you, I implore you.
Make it your will that this people enjoy
The goods and riches you naturally give,
That naturally issue from you,
That are pleasing and savory,
That delight and comfort,
Though lasting but briefly,
Passing away, as if in a dream.

—Anonymous (1500’s)

A Sioux Prayer

Oh great spirit, whose voice I hear in the winds,
Whose breath gives life to the world, hear me!
I come to you as one of your many children, I am small and weak.
I need your strength and wisdom. May I walk in beauty.
Make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have made, and my ears sharp to your voice.
Make we wise so that I may know the things you have taught your children—
The lessons you have written in every leaf and rock,
Make me strong! Make me strong!
Not to be superior to my brothers, but to fight my greatest enemy, myself.
Make me ever ready to come to you to come to you with straight eyes—
So that when life fades as the fading sunset,
may my spirit come to you without shame.

­—Chief Yellow Lark (1887)

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