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Union Chapel 5 March | Programme & Texts

March 6, 2015 at 12:04 pm UTC

A huge thank you to Jeff Beal & Nicki Wells for joining Eric and the Eric Whitacre Singers on stage at Union Chapel, London last night.  Check out some of the highlights on Classic FM.

For those of you who were able to be there and for those would could make it, here’s some more information about some of the pieces performed, including the emotive text for Jeff Beal’s The Salvage Men.

Union Chapel | 5 March 2015

Eric Whitacre – Lux Nova
Nicki Wells – Shloka
Maurice Duruflé – Ubi Caritas
Jeff Beal – The Salvage Men

John Tavener – The Lamb
Eric Whitacre – Three Flower Songs
Nicki Wells – Ocean
Stephen Paulus – Pilgrim’s Hymn
Jeff Beal – Poor in Spirit
Eric Whitacre – Sleep

Jeff Beal – The Salvage Men

1. A VERY LONG MOMENT (Oscar Wilde)

Suffering is one very long moment.
We cannot divide it by seasons.
We can only record its moods, and chronicle their return.
With us time itself does not progress.
It revolves. It seems to circle round one centre of pain.

The paralyzing immobility of a life
every circumstance…
after an unchangeable pattern,
There is nothing that stirs in the whole world of thought
to which sorrow does not vibrate
in terrible and exquisite pulsation.
Where there is sorrow there is holy ground


2. SPIDERWEB (Kay Ryan) 

From other
angles the
fibers look
fragile, but
not from the
spider’s, always
hauling coarse
ropes, hitching
lines to the
best posts
possible. It’s
heavy work
fighting sag,
winching up
give. It
isn’t ever
to live.


3. VIRGA (Kay Ryan) 

There are bands
in the sky where
what happens
matches prayers.
Clouds blacken
and inky rain
hatches the air
like angled writing,
the very transcription
of a pure command,
steady from a steady
hand. Drought
put to rout, visible
a mile above
for miles about.


4. AGE (Kay Ryan)

As some people age
they kinden.
The apertures
of their eyes widen.
I do not think they weaken;

I think something weak strengthens
until they are more and more it,
like letting in heaven.
But other people are
mussels or clams, frightened.
Steam or knife blades mean open.
They hear heaven, they think boiled or broken.


5. SALVAGE (Kay Ryan)

 The wreck
is a fact.
The worst
has happened.
The salvage trucks
back in and
the salvage men
begin to sort
and stack,
whistling as
they work.

Thanks be
to God—again—
for extractable elements
which are not
carriers of pain,
for this periodic
table at which
the self-taught
salvagers disassemble
the unthinkable
to the unthought.


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