Robert Louis Stevenson’s Almanac: ’12 Seasonal Sketches’ for Chorus (SATB) and Piano (2018) c. 22 mins

Dedicated to Graeme Stevenson

  1. Here Are Songs For You
  2. Over The Land Is April
  3. Spring Song
  4. In The Green and Gallant Spring
  5. The Summer Sun Shone Round Me
  6. Bed In Summer
  7. Autumn Leaves and Rain
  8. Now Is Russet Autumn Here
  9. The Wind
  10. I Who All The Winter Through
  11. Soon Our Friends Perish
  12. On Now

 

1: Here Are Songs For You

Come, my little children, here are songs for you;

Some are short and some are long, and all, all are new.

You must learn to sing them very small and clear,

Very true to time and tune and pleasing to the ear.

Mark the note that rises, mark the notes that fall,

Mark the time when broken, and the swing of it all.

So when night is come, and you have gone to bed,

All the songs you love to sing shall echo in your head.

2: Over The Land Is April

Over the land is April,

Over my heart a rose;

Over the high, brown mountain

The sound of singing goes.

Say, love, do you hear me,

Hear my sonnets ring?

Over the high, brown mountain,

Love, do you hear me sing?

By highway, love, and byway

The snows succeed the rose.

Over the high, brown mountain

The wind of winter blows.

Say, love, do you hear me,

Hear my sonnets ring?

Over the high, brown mountain

I sound the song of spring,

I throw the flowers of spring.

Do you hear the song of spring?

Hear you the songs of spring?

3: Spring Song

The air was full of sun and birds,

The fresh air sparkled clearly.

Remembrance wakened in my heart

And I knew I loved her dearly.

The fallows and the leafless trees

And all my spirit tingled.

My earliest thought of love, and Spring’s

First puff of perfume mingled.

In my still heart the thoughts awoke,

Came lone by lone together –

Say, birds and Sun and Spring, is Love

A mere affair of weather?

4: In The Green And Gallant Spring

In the green and gallant Spring,

Love and the lyre I thought to sing,

And kisses sweet to give and take

By the flowery hawthorn brake.

5: The Summer Sun Shone Round Me

The summer sun shone round me,

The folded valley lay

In a stream of sun and odour,

That sultry summer day.

The tall trees stood in the sunlight

As still as still could be,

But the deep grass sighed and rustled

And bowed and beckoned me.

The deep grass moved and whispered

And bowed and brushed my face.

It whispered in the sunshine:

“The winter comes apace.”

6: Bed In Summer

In winter I get up at night

And dress by yellow candle-light.

In summer, quite the other way,

I have to go to bed by day.

I have to go to bed and see

The birds still hopping on the tree,

Or hear the grown-up people’s feet

Still going past me in the street.

And does it not seem hard to you,

When all the sky is clear and blue,

And I should like so much to play,

To have to go to bed by day?

7: Autumn Leaves and Rain

It blows a snowing gale in the winter of the year;

The boats are on the sea and the crews are on the pier.

The needle of the vane, it is veering to and fro,

A flash of sun is on the veering of the vane.

Autumn leaves and rain,

The passion of the gale.

8: Now Is Russet Autumn Here

Now is russet Autumn here,

Death and the grave and winter drear,

And I must ponder here aloof

While the rain is on the roof.

9: The Wind

I saw you toss the kites on high

And blow the birds about the sky;

And all around I heard you pass,

Like ladies’ skirts across the grass–

O wind, a-blowing all day long,

O wind, that sings so loud a song!

I saw the different things you did,

But always you yourself you hid.

I felt you push, I heard you call,

I could not see yourself at all–

O wind, a-blowing all day long,

O wind, that sings so loud a song!

O you that are so strong and cold,

O blower, are you young or old?

Are you a beast of field and tree,

Or just a stronger child than me?

O wind, a-blowing all day long,

O wind, that sings so loud a song!

10: I Who All The Winter Through

I who all the winter through

Cherished other loves than you,

And kept hands with hoary policy in marriage-bed and pew;

Now I know the false and true,

For the earnest sun looks through,

And my old love comes to meet me in the dawning and the dew.

Now the hedged meads renew

Rustic odour, smiling hue,

And the clean air shines and tinkles as the world goes wheeling through;

And my heart springs up anew,

Bright and confident and true,

And my old love comes to meet me in the dawning and the dew.

11: Soon Our Friends Perish

Soon our friends perish,

Soon all we cherish

Fades as days darken – goes as flowers go.

Soon in December

Over an ember,

Lonely we hearken, as loud winds blow.

12: On Now

On now, although the year be done,
Now, although the love be dead,
Dead and gone;
Hear me, O loved and cherished one,
Give me still the hand that led,
Led me on.