If I Had Wings (2015)
mezzo soprano and piano
Text: Josephine Preston Peabody
Duration: 13 minutes

Premiere: Megan Buness, soprano; Leanna Kirchoff, piano; February 3, 2015, on Dazzle Classical Music Series Presents Past, Present & Future: Women in Classical Music Part III, Dazzle Jazz, Denver, COT

Other performances:
Community College of Denver Faculty Recital
Megan Buness, soprano and Leanna Kirchoff, piano
April 7, 2015
Denver, CO 80211
Denver, CO 80211 he Clever Artifice of Harriet and Margaret, a chamber opera for four female voices, won the 2014-2016 National Opera Association Dominick Argento Chamber Opera Competition held January 2015 in Greens
1. Prelude
2. The Hearer
3. Song and Need

Texts:

Prelude
Words, words,
Ye are like birds.
Would I might fold you,
In my hands hold you
Till ye were warm and your feathers a-flutter:
Till, in your throats,
Tremulous notes
Foretold the songs ye would utter.

Words, words,
Ye are all birds!
Would ye might linger
Here on my finger,
Till I kissed each, and then sent you a-winging
Wild, perfect flight,
Through morn to night,
Singing and singing and singing!

The Hearer
I listen; and I listen; and surmise.
I listen to all musics that may be;
And to the shapes and faces that my eyes See.

I listen for the strains of daily fate
To merge into some large assured Song;
Yea! though belief, and hope, and hunger wait...Long.

And more than all, I listen to the deep
Of Silences that fold it all around,
Petal on petal, to the heart asleep, Sound.

Yet am I dumb: until She blow the breath --
Here on my forehead --of a spheral spring;
And Her eyes veil; and the near silence saith, "Sing."

Song and Need
Heart said, "If I had wings,
Such wings as hath the lark,
Even as that freedom sings
Beyond the dark,
I too, if I could fly
From chains that weigh and cling
Ah, but then I could sing,--
Could I!

'O dayspring of desire!
Mid-ocean of delight
Before the dawn of fire
On dawn of sight!
My joy, could it undo
All that despair has done,
I could find out the Sun,
--I too'

But ah, how vain to long
For glory of the lark,
Who hast more need of song
Down in thy dark;
Where chains may always irk,
And every day's rebuff
Leave thee scarce breath enough,
To work!

Nay, never to assuage
Our need, is joy begun,
But follows some poor wage
Full hardly won.
Never vain wish shall bring
The music from the dumb.
Needs must--ere song will come--
We sing!

To him who hath, late, soon,
To him shall it be given.
Make to thyself some boon,
Some little heaven:
Some feigning, through that mirk,
The blue of upper skies;
And sing--with blindfold eyes--



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