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CONFESSIONS OF ST. AUGUSTINE

Date: 2009 (version 1), 2012 (version 2), 2014 (version 3)
Duration: 15 minutes
Instrumentation:
Version 1: soprano & piano
Version 2: soprano & full orchestra
Version 3: soprano, clarinet, piano

Premiere:
Version 1: February 28, 2009. Michelle Crouch (soprano), Seong–sil Kim (piano). Iowa City, IA.
Version 2: April 14, 2012. Michelle Crouch (soprano), Coe College Orchestra, Joseph Dangerfield dir. Cedar Rapids, IA.
Version 3: September 23, 2014. Michelle Crouch (soprano), Yasmin Flores (clarinet), Ann DuHamel (piano). University of Minnesota – Morris (Morris, MN).


VERSION 1 (soprano & piano)
I. "Magnus es, Domine"

II. "Domine, miserere mei"

III. "Sero te amavi"

VERSION 2 (soprano & orchestra)
I. "Magnus es, Domine"

II. "Domine, miserere mei"


VERSION 3 (soprano, clarinet, piano)
I. "Magnus es, Domine"

II. "Domine, miserere mei"


This set of three songs is the result of a collaboration with soprano Michelle Crouch. The texts, taken from Saint Augustine’s monumental Confessions, were selected by Ms. Crouch whose desire it was to include both the beautiful original Latin as well as English translations. It is my hope that Augustine’s formidable text, as powerful today in its deep introspective devotion as I am sure it was to his original 4th and 5th century readers, is done justice by these settings and is brought to life for the listener.


Text: (English translations by Henry Chadwick)

I. "Magnus es, Domine" (Book I/I)
Magnus es, Domine, et laudabilis valde.
You are great, Lord, and highly to be praised. Great is your power and your wisdom is immeasurable.
Man, a little piece of your creation desires to praise you, a human being bearing his own mortality.
You stir man to take pleasure in praising You. You have made us for Yourself, and our heart is restless till it rests in You.

II. "Domine, miserere mei" (Book X/39-40)
Domine, miserere mei. ei mihi.
Alas, Lord have mercy upon me, wretch that I am. See, I do not hide my wounds. You are the physician, I am the patient. You are pitiful, I am the object of pity. Is not human life on earth a trial? Who desires troubles and difficulties?
Domine, miserere mei.
In adversities I desire prosperity, in prosperous times I fear adversities. Is not human life on earth a trial in which there is no respite?
Et tota spes mea non nisi in magna misericordia tua.

III. "Sero te amavi" (Book X/38)
Sero te amavi, pulchritude tam antiqua et tam nova, sero te amavi!
Late have I loved you, beauty so old and so new: late have I loved you. And see, you were within and I was in the external world and sought you there, and in my unlovely state I plunged into those lovely created things which you made. You were with me, and I was not with you. The lovely things kept me far from you, though if they did not have their existence in you, they had no existence at all. You called and cried out loud and shattered my deafness. You were radiant and resplendent, you put to flight my blindness. You were fragrant, and I drew in my breath and now pant after you. I tasted you, and I feel but hunger and thirst for you. You touched me and I am set on fire to attain the peace which is yours.


Performances
VERSION 1
—October 1, 2010: Michelle Crouch, Society of Composers Conference, Augustana College (Rock Island, IL)
—November 21, 2009: Michelle Crouch, Northwestern College (Orange City, IA)
—February 28, 2009: Michelle Crouch recital, University of Iowa (Iowa City)

VERSION 2
—April 14, 2012: Michelle Crouch, Coe College Orchestra, Joseph Dangerfield dir. (Cedar Rapids, IA)