I look o’er Yander


two recorder quintets (SATTB - ATTB,GB) and optional alto recorder soloist


Written for the Lyme Regis Recorder Courses 2016

    1. I. I look o’er Yander
    1. II. Hoe luyde riep die Siel…. (How Loud the Soul Cried out…)
    1. III.Gumba

Written for the Lyme Regis Recorder Courses 2016.

The first movement is on a little song that struck my eye while leafing through Krehbiel’s Afro-American Folksongs. The wonderfully joyful and simple song turned out to be a funeral dirge:

I look o’er yander, what I see?
Somebody’s dying every day.
See bright angel standin’ dere;
Somebody’s dying every day.
Ev’ry day, passin’ away,
Somebody’s dying every day.

Ev’ry day, passin’ away,
Somebody’s dying every day.

I have tried to capture some of the the sadness that underlies the seemingly happy tune, as if angels carefully carry a child’s soul to heaven.

The second movement starts with a small double canon (in the basses) and then a ‘ground’ on a beautiful, through-composed song from the Antwerp Song Book (no. 56), in my translation:

How loud to God cried out the Soul
O Lord Almighty, gentle Father,
What shall I do?
My body heavily drags my heart
O Lord, do grace me, do
The flesh tries to devour me whole

The starting point for movement three was offered by chance when I looked into Lyme Regis’ history and found out, to my great surprise, that it is twinned to Bermuda. I heard a Bermudan piper’s band on YouTube play an interesting calypso-like melody that I morphed into the present movement. Later I found out it derived from a Jamaican tune well known in the East-Indies: Linstead Market, the touching story of a market seller lamenting her poor sales that would leave her children without anything to eat the next day.

So through sheer chance, this movement, too, testifies to the sadness of happy music and how this might unburden our souls.