The Beauty You Have Begotten (2019)
$2.00 – $20.00
Instrumentation: SATB plus saxophone quartet
Text by: Amy Lowell, Carl Sandburg, F. S. Flint, Georgia Douglas Johnson, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Mark Twain
Availability: Downloadable PDFs of SATB score, full score, and/or instrumental parts.
Please purchase the number and type of copies necessary for your chorus.
Commissioned by the Greater New Haven Community Chorus
The Beauty You Have Begotten was commissioned by the Greater New Haven Community Chorus under conductor Noah Glynn. In the early stages of the collaboration, Noah expressed an interest in the piece being a reflection on the “pillars of the human experience.” While I do not pretend the selected texts and their musical settings represent a definitive set of experiences, emotions, and/or ideals that are universal to all people in all times and places, the included poems each explore different aspects of life that hopefully will be relatable to listeners. Certain themes—love, the natural world, struggle, and resilience—appear in multiple of the texts, creating connections between them that are often underscored musically.
The first poem, “The Giver of Stars” by Amy Lowell, presents an image of romantic love that inspires the narrator to want to spread “the beauty you have begotten” into the world. The second movement sets “Home” by Carl Sandburg and focuses on familial love. and compassion. The third movement presents a moment of crisis as seen in F.S. Flint’s poem “The grass is beneath my head.” The text ends with a desire to move beyond grief, and the next poem fulfills that promise of resilience. Georgia Douglas Johnson’s “When I Rise Up” marks a turning point: the protagonist transcends their worldly trouble to find a new strength and calm. Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “God’s World” expresses a deep love of nature, in contrast to the more ominous view of the world found in the third movement. The final movement sets Mark Twain’s “Warm Summer Sun” as a gentle lullaby—perhaps the song of the mother from “Home” or perhaps the song that lulls one into their final sleep at the end of life.