The Sweets of Evening

for Dianne Berkun and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus
Children's voices, piano, 8'

The Sweets of Evening (2006) was written for Dianne Berkun and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. Having worked with this group of musicians many times before, I was honored to finally write them a piece. Having sung in a boy choir myself, I am fascinated and intimate with the changing nature of young voices, and I looked for a text that is itself transitory ““ here, depicting the movement between dusk and night. I have long been a great fan of Christopher Smart’s poetry, and particularly of Benjamin Britten’s setting of fragments from Jubilate Agno; my own setting here nods to Britten in its episodic nature and, I hope, generosity towards the singers. The Sweets of Evening lasts six and one half minutes. ““Nico Muhly

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


The Brooklyn Youth Chorus
Dianne Berkun, conductor

Text

The Sweets of Evening by Christopher Smart (1722-1771)

The sweets of evening charm the mind,
Sick of the sultry day;
The body then no more confin’d,
But exercise with freedom join’d,
When Phoebus sheathes his ray.

While all-serene the summer moon
Sends glances thro’ the trees,
And Philomel begins her tune,.
And Asteria too shall help her soon
With voice of skillful ease.

A nosegay, every thing that grows,
And music, every sound
To lull the sun to his repose;
The skies are colour’d like the rose
With lively streaks around.

Of all the changes rung by time
None half so sweet appear,
As those when thoughts themselves sublime,
And with superior natures chime
In fancy’s highest sphere.

1 Comment