While flipping through an old AP English textbook, I came across “Love bade me welcome” by George Herbert, a Welsh-English poet from the 17th century. Like his contemporary John Donne, Herbert’s poetry often focused on love or religion. Rather than write a more traditional art-song with this strophic text, I chose to work in another direction entirely and create a jazz standard using 17th-century metaphysical poetry. I adjusted the language of the original text to be more suitable for song, although the original text is rife with suggestive themes. The combination of instruments (flute, baritone saxophone, vibraphone) is meant to represent elements of a small jazz ensemble. The flute acts more like a flugelhorn or a trumpet, and all instruments should generally consider themselves accompaniment to the vocals.
Love bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back,
Guitly of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
If I lacked anything.
‘A guest’ I answered, ‘worthy to be here:’
Love said, ‘You shall be she.’
‘I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,
I cannot look on thee.’
Love took my hand and smiling did reply,
‘Who made your eyes but me?’
But I have spoiled them, gimme my shame
Put me where I belong.
She said, ‘ Don’t you know who bore the blame?’
‘No, no, I must serve.”
She said, ‘Sit down, and taste my meat.’
So I did sit and eat.
Kanako Chikami, vibra-iPhone
Mary Cervantes, tooti flooti
David Berrios, sexy sax
Eliza Smith, sultry soprano
In the basement of a former nunnery-turned-hotel in Cortona, Italy.
- contemporary classical and chill