The Sotto Voce Vocal Collective will premiere my second setting of a text by St. Augustine, Noli esse vana. This piece will open Sotto Voce’s first concert of the spring season on March 15 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo. I’m even going to sing in this performance, lending my bass voice to St. Augustine’s words as well as Sylvia Lim‘s Landscape Fragments. I will be singing with Ethan Hayden, Jonathan Sandberg, Kristen Smigielski, and Julia Cordani. Jessie Downs, Sotto Voce’s leader, will be conducting.
Also on the program will be stay me with flagons by Porter James and Lamentations by Jessie Downs.
I wrote the first setting of this text in 2013 for a Renaissance choir I was a part of in San Francisco called Ut Re Mi, which has now disbanded but several of its members remain actively singing in the San Francisco Bay area.
Upon moving to Buffalo and presenting that first setting to my composition seminar, I realized that I wanted to make some revisions. What happened, instead, was I wrote another setting entirely. They are both made of the same DNA, and my approach to the text was the same in both. This newer setting is only more refined than the first.
The text (in Latin):
Noli esse vana, anima mea, et obsurdescere in aure cordis tumultu vantatis tuae. Audi et tu: verbum ipsum clamat, ut redeas, et ibi est locus quietis imperturbabilis, ubi non demeritar amor, si ipse non desertat.
Be not vain, O my soul, and do not let the tumult of your vanity deafen the ear of your heart. You must listen: the Word itself calls you to return, and there is the place of rest imperturbable, where love is not abandoned if itself abandons not.
Listen to the 2013 setting below, and follow me on Soundcloud.