Rodney

Video of World Premiere of my song “To Venus and Mars”

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So far, of the performances of my art songs that have taken place in the past few years, I have only one audio or video. I thought I’d post it here because it has a definite Objectivist influence.

The song, “To Venus and Mars,” was one of three of my songs chosen for presentation at an event hosted by Opera on Tap called New Brew: A Warm Welcome, held in The Elbo Room in Chicago. (The two others were titled “Ave Maria [Ellen’s Prayer]” and “The Lone Last Leaf.”)

Another recently performed song of mine, “When Matter Touches Antimatter,” has outer space as its background as well; but there is no Objectivist influence in that work. That song was a winner of the Second Fresh Squeezed Ounce of Art Song competition, hosted by One Ounce Opera and held at Central Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas.

My next post on this thread will present the lyrics of “To Venus and Mars.”

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The lyrics are as follows (NB: the sung word “strange” should be “vain,” as below):

“TO VENUS AND MARS”

While children down here in the fields
Catch fireflies in jars,
So grown men chase evening light …

… To Venus and Mars
Someday a brave man will go,
Someone who can bear to be launched
And leave us below.

But deep in the sky
He will lose sight of the earth
Ere catching that one final glimpse—
Stuff of memoirs—
Knowing he’s bound on a course
To Venus and Mars.

----

Now he must seek other realms instead.
It was time for those last looks to end.
Echoes remind him of what they said
When he first heard their call to ascend:
“Do you find most of this globe absurd,
“With its throngs, restless passions, and tears?
“This world is vain, as we’ve often heard.
“Do you long for a mission that’s one-way
“To Venus and Mars—to Venus and Mars—?”

----

Near Venus and Mars,
Yet might he grow ill at ease
To gaze on them, visions of Earth
Taint all that he sees?
This trav’ler may soon
Dream he will one day return
To mingle on streets full of life,
To chase falling stars
And quite serenely look up to Venus and Mars.

(Spoken:) And quite serenely look up
(Sung:) To Venus and Mars.

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When she sent me the video, the singer said:

Quote

Video from Tuesday's performance! I was a little nervous so I think I missed a couple notes, and the tempo wasn't exactly how we'd practiced, but the audience loved it!! A few of my colleagues said it was their favorite piece of the whole night!!

 

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Thank you, Peter. Ms. Neal, when I had told her the title before she had seen the score, had told me she liked 'outer-spacey' things; so I thought she would be receptive to this song. She wants to perform it again somewhere, and also wants to perform my other 'space' song, 'When Matter Touches Antimatter,' at another event in Chicago.

At this point, I don't expect singers or listeners to perceive the song's metaphysical theme (at least not consciously), but after the song is more established I hope it will begin to be noticed. 

And if asked what it is these days, I won't answer because I would prefer to communicate the themes through my art. If I can't, that will be my failure (not in songwriting but in objectively embodying a theme--which, contra some commentators on OL, I believe possible and desirable).

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