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To Musique, to Becalme His Fever

First Performance

November 2019

Ensemble

Soprano, Violin, and Piano

Duration

3 minutes

Program Notes

Robert Herrick's famed poem  "To Musique, to Becalme His Fever" is foremost about dying well, loving beauty, and the power of music to bridge sorrow with joy.  In this setting, composer Jaclyn Breeze highlights a single idea: that joy and suffering may exist side-by-side. This setting is subtle, choosing to allow the text to speak with only the barest text-painting, but is by no means timid. Listen for ways in which Breeze suggests the intensity of the poet's suffering alongside his passion for music. Furthermore, observe how simple melodic motifs throughout accompany each stanza, calling the speaker back into his own thoughts at the close of specific phrases. Ultimately, if nothing else, enjoy the song for only the sake of beauty; which, for Herrick - and so often for us - is just the medicine we need. 

Jaclyn Breeze, 2018

To Musique, to Becalme His Fever by Robert Herrick

Charm me asleep, and melt me so

With thy Delicious Numbers; 

That being ravish, hence I goe

Away in easy slumbers.

Ease my sick head

And make my bed, 

Thou Power that canst sever

From me this ill:

And quickly still:

Though thou not kill

My Fever

Thou sweetly canst convert the same

From a consuming fire,

Into a gentle-licking flame, 

And make it thus expire. 
Then make me weep

My paines asleep;

And give me such reposes,

That I, poore, I, 

May think, thereby, 

I live and die

'Mongst Roses

Fall on me like a silent dew,

Or like those Maiden showers

Which, by the peepe of day, doe strew

A Baptime o're the flowers. 

Melt, melt my paines, 

With thy soft straines; 

That having ease me given, 

With full delight, 

I leave this light; 

And take my flight 

For Heaven. 

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     Score and Part $15

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