choral | 1979

Pulvis et Umbra


Year: 1979

Duration: 14'

Instrumentation: ssssaattbb/pf

Program Notes

Diffugere nives, redeunt iam gramina campis
arboribusque comae;
mutat terra vices, et decrescentia ripas
flumina praetereunt;

Gratia cum Nymphis geminisque sororibus audet
ducere nuda choros.
immortalia ne speres, monet annus et almum
quae rapit hora diem.

frigora mitescunt Zephyris, ver proterit aestas
interitura simul
pomifer autumnus fruges effuderit, et mox
bruma recurrit iners.

damna tamen celeres reparant caelestia lunae:
nos ubi decidimus
quo pius Aneas, quo Tullus dives et Ancus,
pulvis et umbra sumus.

quis scit an adiciant hoderniae crastina summae
tempora di superi?
Cuncta manus avidas fugient heredis amico
Quae dederis animo.

cum semel occideris et de te splendida Minos
fecerit arbitria,
non, Torquate, genus, non te facundia, non te
restituet pietas;

infernis neque enim tenebris Diana pudicum
liberat Hipollytum,
nec Lethaea valet Theseus abrumpere caro
vincula Pirithoo.

Dust and Shadow

The snow has fled; already the grass is returning to the
fields and the leaves to the trees.
Earth is going through her changes and with lessening
floods the rivers keep to their channels.

The Grace, with the Nymphs and her twin sisters, ventures
to lead a nude chorus.
The year and the hour that rob us of the kindly day warn
us not to hope for immortality.

Frost gives way to the warm west winds; soon summer
will trample on spring and be trodden in turn
when fruitful autumn has poured forth its harvest,
and soon lifeless winter returns.

The swiftly changing moons repair their losses in the sky:
we, when we have descended
whither righteous Aneas, whither rich Tullus and Ancus
have gone are but dust and shadow.

Who knows whether the gods will add tomorrow’s time to
the sum of today?
What you give to your own dear self will escape your
greedy heirs.

Once you are dead Torquatus, and Minos has pronounced
his august judgement on you
no family, no eloquence, no good deeds
can bring you back.

For Diana releases not the chaste Hipollytus from the
nether darkness,
nor has Theseus the power to break the Lethean chains of
his dear Pirithous.


RTÉ Singers
Gillian Smith (piano)
Eric Sweeney (conductor)