Song of Ecclesiastes

Song of Ecclesiastes

Year: 2008

For: baritone and piano

Movement Titles:
1. What Profit Has a Man
2. A Time To
3. The Heart of the Wise
4. Cast Your Bread

First Performance:
Kurt Ollmann, baritone
Michael Torke, piano
May 19, 2009
Women's Club of Wisconsin Athenaeum
Milwaukee, WI

Instrumentation: baritone and piano

Duration: 15'

The Book of Ecclesiastes, the Bible

Press Quote:
It has the same energy and sound of his instrumental works, combining popular vocabulary with a style that can be generally called post-minimalist. There was generally a pleasant and warm glow to the songs.
Shepherd Express

Program Notes:
Song of Ecclesiastes was commissioned by the MacDowell Music Club of Milwaukee for their Centennial Celebration.

Here are the texts.

1. What Profit Has a Man
What profit has a man from all his labor
In which he toils under the sun?
One generation passes away, and another generation comes;
But the earth abides forever.
The sun also rises, and the sun goes down,
And hastens to the place where it arose.
The wind goes toward the south,
And turns around to the north;
The wind whirls about continually,
And comes again on its circuit.
All the rivers run into the sea,
Yet the sea is not full;
To the place from which the rivers come,
There they return again.
All things are full of labor;
Man cannot express it.
The eye is not satisfied with seeing,
Nor the ear filled with hearing.
That which has been is what will be,
That which is done is what will be done,
And there is nothing new under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 1:3-9

2. A Time To
To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill, And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;
A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw away;
A time to tear,
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
And a time to speak;
A time to love,
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
And a time of peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

3. The Heart of the Wise
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, But the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise
Than for a man to hear the song of fools.
For like the crackling of thorns under a pot,
So is the laughter of the fool.
Ecclesiastes 7:4-6

4. Cast Your Bread
Cast your bread upon the waters,
For you will find it after many days.
In the morning sow your seed,
And in the evening do not withhold your hand;
For you do not know which will prosper,
Either this or that,
Or whether both alike will be good.
As you do not know what is the way of the wind,
Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child,
So you do not know the works of God who makes everything.
But if a man lives many years
And rejoices in them all,
Yet let him remember the days of darkness,
For they will be many.
Ecclesiastes 11:1,6,5,8