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John Luther Adams

magic song for one who wishes to live and the dead who climb up to the sky (1990)
Publisher
Taiga Press (BMI)
Category
Solo Voice(s) and up to 6 players
Year Composed
1990
Duration
5 Minutes
Solo Instrument(s)
medium voice
Orchestration
Availability


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Programme Note
John Luther Adams magic song for one who wishes to live and the dead who climb up to the sky (1990)
The wild landscapes and indigenous cultures of the far north are deep and enduring influences in my work. I have the highest respect for Eskimo music, dance and poetry, which resonate so fully with the immediacy and power of authentic experience.

This is art stripped to the bone, with no sentimental embellishments or extraneous flourishes; art which is at once spiritual and utilitarian; art which helps us understand how to live and how to die.

Ultimately, what moves me most in these two poems is not their uniquely "Eskimo" qualities, but the startling clarity with which they sing of those two greatest mysteries - life and death.

John Luther Adams


magic song for one who wishes to live

days arises
from its sleep
day wakes up
with the dawning light
you also must awake
you also must arise
together with the day which comes
with the day which comes

-Thule Eskimo

the dead who climb up to the sky

the dead who climb up to the sky
climb up steps
to the sky
up worn steps
all the dead who climb up to the sky
on worn steps
worn from the other side
worn from the inside
climb up to the sky
up to the sky

-Ammassalik Eskimo


Score sample



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