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Reincarnations: Cor Flammae's debut concert (live excerpts)

by Cor Flammae

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1.
There once lived a Man in a Castle, and a strange man was he. He shunned the Countess’ parties; he yawned at town meetings; he would not let the doctor take his pulse; he did not go to church on Sundays. Oh what a strange man is the Man in the Castle!
2.
Ev’ry Sunday afternoon, soft winds fanning the fading sun, all the respectable folk went out walking slowly on the pink promenade by the sea. Proud husbands velvety-plump, with embroider’d silk-pale ladies. At four o’clock they all greeted each other; They spoke ill of each other at six: “How d’you do?” “Very well, thank you.” “Have you heard?” “Pray, do tell me.” “Tcha tcha tcha tcha tcha ra tcha ra tcha...” “How funny, how amusing, how odd! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!” “How well you look!” “How pretty your dress!” “Thank you.” “Thank you.” “Good-bye.” “Good-bye.” “Isn’t she a gossip!” “Isn’t she a fright!”
3.
One Sunday afternoon the proud Man in the Castle joined the crowd in the promenade by the sea. He walked slowly down the quai leading by a silver chain a captive unicorn. The townsfolk stopped to stare at the ill-assorted pair. Thinking the man insane some laughed with pity, some laughed with scorn: “What a scandalous sight to see a grown-up man promenade a unicorn in plain daylight all through the city” “If one can stroke the cat and kick the dog; if one can pluck the peacock and flee the bee; if one can ride the horse and hook the hog; if one can tempt the mouse and swat the fly, Why, why would a man both rich and well-born raise a unicorn?” “If one can strike the boar with the spear and pierce the lark with an arrow; if one can hunt the fox and the deer, and net the butterfly and eat the sparrow; if one can bid the falcon fly and let the robin die; Why, why would a man both rich and well-born raise a unicorn?” “If one can skin the mole and crush the snake; if one can tame the swan on the lake and harpoon the dolphin in the sea; if one can chain the bear and train the flea; if one can sport with the monkey and chatter with the magpie, Why, why would a man both rich and well-born raise a unicorn?”
4.
Geöffnet sind des Winters Riegel, Entschwunden ist sein Silberflor; Hell blinken der Gewässer Spiegel, Die Lerche schwingt sich hoch empor; Wie durch des greisen Königs Siegel Geweckt ertönt der Freude Chor. Der Frühling schwebt auf das Gefilde Und lieblich wehet Zephyr nur, Der Blumenfülle süße Milde Erhebt sich in der Luft Azur, In der Verklärung Wunderbilde Empfängt uns lächelnd die Natur. Schon prangen goldgeschmückt Sylphiden Und Florens Reich erblüht verschönt, Rings waltet Lust und stiller Frieden, Der Hain ist nun mit Laub bekrönt, Wer fühlet, ihm ist Glück beschieden, Weil Eros’ süßer Ruf ertönt. Empfanget denn mit trautem Gruße Den holden Lenz, den Schmuck der Welt. Der weihend uns mit leisem Kusse Des Daseins Rosenbahn erhellt, Der hold uns winkt zum Hochgenusse Und jedes Herz mit Wonne schwellt.
5.
Trois beaux oiseaux du Paradis, (Mon ami z’il est à la guerre) Trois beaux oiseaux du Paradis Ont passé par ici. Le premier était plus bleu que ciel, (Mon ami z’il est à la guerre) Le second était couleur de neige, Le troisième rouge vermeil. “Beaux oiselets du Paradis, (Mon ami z’il est à la guerre) Beaux oiselets du Paradis, Qu’apportez par ici?” “J’apporte un regard couleur d’azur. (Ton ami z’il est à la guerre)” “Et moi, sur beau front couleur de neige, Un baiser dois mettre, encore plus pur” “Oiseau vermeil du Paradis, (Mon ami z’il est à la guerre) Oiseau vermeil du Paradis, Que portez-vous ainsi?” “Un joli cœur tout cramoisi ... (Ton ami z’il est à la guerre)” “Ah! je sens mon cœur qui froidit ... Emportez-le aussi.”
6.
i wana cry with u but we cant because if we were together we wouldn’t be sad
7.
In this world we live and clocking time goes by. We sing our soul a song, in peace, a lullaby. Dancing through days with Love through our hearts, for those who’ve slipped away, The sky in sunset marks, in a moment’s song, a quiet lullaby No words can tell us how to say good bye. So we give this song to you, a blessing let it be. Quiet moment’s thought of peace and harmony.
8.
Sure on this shining night Of star made shadows round, Kindness must watch for me This side the ground. The late year lies down the north. All is healed, all is health. High summer holds the earth. Hearts all whole. Sure on this shining night I weep for wonder wand’ring far alone Of shadows on the stars.
9.
Across the darkened city the frosty searchlights creep, Alert for the first marauder, to steal upon our sleep. We see the sudden headlines float on the muttering tide. We hear them warn and threaten and wonder what they hide. There are whispers across tables, talks in a shutter’d room. The price on which they bargain will be a people’s doom. There’s a roar of war in the factories and idle hands on the street And Europe held in nightmare by the thud of marching feet. Now sinks the sun of surety,the shadows growing tall Of the big bosses plotting their biggest coup of all. Is there no strength to save us? No power we can trust. Before our lives and liberties Are powder’d into dust. Time to arise Democracy, time to rise up and cry, That what our fathers fought for We’ll not allow to die. Time to resolve divisions, time to renew our pride, Time to decide, time to burst our house of glass. Rise as a single being in one resolve arrayed: Life shall be for the people That’s by the people made.
10.
Can you hear me? Do you see me here? See that I am not what I appear. Nothing is ever simple, simple as it seems. Seems like it’s time to tell you, tell you all my dreams. Can you stand it? Do you understand? Under no illusions, take my hand. Take what I want to give you. All of this is real. How long have I been waiting to tell you what I feel? Can you love me, love me as I am? I am here, unwilling to pretend That we could ever go back to “someday, somehow.” Somehow I have to show you our time is now. Can you hear me now?

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Reincarnations: A selection of works celebrating queer composers through time.

Live recording at Cor Flammae's inaugural concert - Queer Arts Festival July 24th, 2014

Conducted by Peggy Hua and Hussein Janmohamed

*Cor Flammae commission and premiere performance

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released August 8, 2014

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Cor Flammae Vancouver, British Columbia

Cor Flammae is Vancouver's summer chorus of classically trained, queer singers, performing queer content. Composed from the ranks of the city's top-flight choral ensembles and singers, the choir seeks to reveal the hidden queer heritage often ignored in the conservative world of classical music. ... more

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