In which is the breath of Life. Let man and beast appear before him, And magnify his name together. Let Nimrod, the mighty hunter, Bind a leopard to the altar And consecrate his spear to the Lord. Let Ishmail dedicate a tyger, And give praise for the liberty In which the Lord has let him at large. Let Balaam appear with an ass, And bless the Lord his people And his creatures for a reward eternal.
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The piece was first performed on September 21, The text for the cantata is excerpted from a poem entitled "Jubilate Agno", by Christopher Smart. The eighteenth century poet was in an insane asylum when he wrote it, and although there is a delightful sense of madness in the poem, the religious character of the work is the most striking. The manuscript is not complete, and the fragments of it were not found until Their discoverer, William Stead, published them under the name "Rejoice in the Lamb.
The piece is scored for male choir, organ, percussion, and four soloists. Music Text of Rejoice in the Lamb The piece opens with a hushed but anticipative statement by the boys and organ. The key becomes minor for a brief moment as God and his presence in all creatures and things are respectfully praised, but then erupts into a festive celebration. A boy soloist enters, singing the famous section about "my cat Jeoffry". The text is very imaginative and charming. The piece continues with nonsense rhymes of instruments and concludes with a repetition of the Purcellian Hallelujah fugue.
His father, Peter Smart, died in , when Christopher was eleven. He entered Pembroke College, Cambridge, as a sizar in In he won a scholarship; he received his degree in ; he received a fellowship in He had to relinquish this, after getting married to Anna Maria Carnan in In he had an illness which could have led to his first breakdown.
From he lived in various asylums. Among the symptoms of his insanity were his sudden compulsions to pray in public, at any time or place. His marriage collapsed in
B. BRITTEN - REJOICE IN THE LAMB
The whole work consists of over 1, lines: all the lines in some sections begin with the word Let; those in other sections begin with For. Those in the series beginning with the word "Let," associated names of human beings, mainly biblical, with various natural objects; and those beginning with the word "For" are a series of aphoristic verses. Bond found that, "The poem was intended as a responsive reading; and that is why the Let and For sections [of the manuscript] are physically distinct while corresponding verse for verse. Bond then discovered that some of the LET and FOR folios were numbered and dated concurrently, and that these chronologically parallel texts were further connected by verbal links.
Text of Rejoice in the Lamb, Op. 30
Rejoice in the Lamb