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The Flawed Pearl and The American Muse

This two-in-one recording features a digitally mastered live recording of "The Flawed Pearl: Music of the English and Italian Baroque" and a studio recording of "The American Muse," featuring music of early American composer William Billings, a psalm from the 1640 Bay Psalm Book, hymns from the Sacred Harp tradition, and folk songs with Old World roots. Utopia founding members Emily Nelson (soprano) and Christopher LeCluyse (tenor) are joined by Catherine Coda (soprano), Nelson LeDuc (baritone), Miyo Aoki (recorder), Bronwen Beecher (violin), Nick Foster (guitar), Jonathan Oddie (harpsichord), and Polly Gibson (viola da gamba).


 Su la cetera amorosa
 Tarquinio Merula (1594/5-1665)
  2  Music for a While
 Henry Purcell (1659-1695)

3  Bel pastor
 Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643)

  4  Have You Seen but a White Lily Grow?
 Robert Johnson (c. 1583-c. 1634)
 Walsingham  William Byrd (c. 1540-1623)
  6  Africa  William Billings (1746-1800)
  7  David's Lamentation
  8  Idumea  Ananias Davisson (1780-1857)
  9  Shady Grove
  10  Barbara Allen

  11  Euroclydon, Psalme 107 for Marriners

Texts and Translations

Su la cetera amorosa
I thought I would never again sing
sweetly and gladly
to the amorous lyre;
for the tortured soul
must always lament and sigh,
in low, melancholy tones.
Yet now I am called again by Love
to song and music.

I, unhappy lover
who barely brought back cold ashes
from the tomb of ill-omened love:
I feel that no longer should
my hoarse and weary voice
tell of my old fires and antique passion,
now that a new Sun
warms me, and desires that I sing of her only.

These torn spoils
of a heart all pierced and burned,
the wretched container of my torments—
instead of allowing them
to be brought to a poor, scant grave,
Tyrant Love wants to strike them again!
Behold me, made
a target of his pitiless and deadly arrow.

Never have I heard
of a dead enemy’s being removed
from a tomb to be fought against further.
Yet Love now
sounds the trumpet of war,
even against one already dead of love.
Behold me, called again,
alas, to the battle of love, of honor, of faith.

He might have left me
buried beneath the cypresses,
or in the chill, hard rock of Elysium,
and with greater renown
directed his weapons against the hearts
that had resisted his power,
and at least have let me rest
in peace once dead.

Yet if again you want me
to bear the wound
of your arrow, O pitiless archer,
if you want me still to be bound
by your snares,
to flare up with your fire, O proud one:
at least, ah, at least let her also burn
who wounds me so.

And if you want me to sing
of new fires and other passions,
of divine beauty come down from Heaven—
then see to it that I too may boast,
of being among the chaste laurels,
of being worthy not to die forever of cold.
For I would rival the most songful birds,
so sweetly I would sing.

Music for a While
Music for a while
Shall all your cares beguile.
Wond'ring how your pains were eas'd
And disdaining to be pleas'd
Till Alecto free the dead
From their eternal bands,
Till the snakes drop from her head,
And the whip from out her hands.

Bel pastor
“Handsome shepherd whose lovely gaze shoots flame that burns me completely, do you love me?”

“Yes, my heart.”

“As I desire?”

“Yes, my heart.”

“Tell me how much.”

“So much, so much.”

“How much?”

“Oh, so much, so much.”

“Like what?”

“Like you, shepherdess.”

“Like what?”

“Like you, shepherdess.”

“Like what?”

“Like you, shepherdess, so beautiful.”

“These caresses and these words don’t quench my desire. If you love me, O my beautiful fire, tell me again but do not jest.” (Refrain)

“I would have happier heard ‘I love you like my own eyes.'”

“As the cause of my pain, these lights do not want to love. They are not satisfied enough in looking at the beauty which thus undoes me.” (Refrain)

“Make me hear other words if you would at least console me.
Do you love me?”

“Yes, my heart.”

“Like life itself?”

“No, for it is afflicted and sullied by hate and disconsolate and not of Love, made a place of suffering by two eyes, rather, two stars too cruel, too beautiful.” (Refrain)

“No longer tell me ‘Like you.'
Tell me, 'I love you.'”

“I love you.”

“Like myself.”

“No, for I myself hate myself.”

“Ah, if you love me, tell me quickly.”

“Yes, my heart.”

“As I desire.”

“Yes, my heart.”

“Tell me how much.”

“So much, so much.”

“How much?”

“Oh, so much, so much.” (Refrain)

Have You Seen but a White Lily Grow?

1. See the chariot at hand here of Love,
Wherein my lady rideth!
Each that draws is a swan or a dove,
And whilst the car Love guideth.
As she goes, all hearts do duty
Unto her beauty;
And enamour’d do wish, so they might
But enjoy such a sight,
That they still were to run by her side,
Through the woods, through the seas,
   whither she would ride.

2. Do but look on her eyes, they do light
All that Love’s world compriseth;
Do but look on her hair, it is bright
As Love’s star when it riseth.
Do but mark, her forehead smoother
Than words that soothe her;
From her raised brows sits grace
Sheds itself through the face,
As alone their triumphs delight
All the gain, all the good,
   of such elemental strife.

3. Have you seen but a white lily grow
Before rude hands hath touch’d it?
Have you mark’d but the fall of the snow
Before the earth hath smutch’d it?
Have you felt the wool of the beaver
Or swan’s down ever?
Have you smelt to the bud of the briar
Or the nard [a fragrant herb] in the fire?
Have you tasted the bag of the bee?
Oh so white, oh so soft,
   oh so sweet is she.

Now shall my inward joys arise,
And burst into a Song;
Almighty Love inspires my Heart,
And Pleasure tunes my Tongue.

God on his thirsty Sion-Hill
Some Mercy-Drops has thrown,
And solemn Oaths have bound his Love
To show'r Salvation down.

Why do we then indulge our Fears,
Suspicions and Complaints?
Is he a God, and shall his Grace
Grow weary of his saints?

Can a kind Woman e'er forget
The Infant of her Womb,
And 'mongst a thousand tender Thoughts
Her Suckling have no Room?

Yet, saith the Lord, should Nature change,
And Mothers Monsters prove,
Sion still dwells upon the Heart
Of everlasting Love.

Deep on the Palms of both my Hands
I have engrav'd her Name;
My Hands shall raise her ruin'd Walls,
And build her broken Frame.

David's Lamentation

David, the king was grieved and moved,
He went to his chamber and wept;
And as he went, he wept and said,
“O my son! O my son!
Would to God I had died for thee,
O Absalom, my son, my son!”

And am I born to die?
To lay this body down!
And must my trembling spirit fly
Into a world unknown?

A land of deepest shade,
Unpierced by human thought
The dreary regions of the dead,
Where all things are forgot.

Soon as from earth I go
What will become of me?
Eternal happiness or woe,
Must then my portion be!

Waked by the trumpet sound,
I from my grave shall rise;
And see the Judge with glory crowned,
And see the flaming skies!

Shady Grove
Shady Grove, my true love,
Shady Grove, I know,
Shady Grove, my true love,
I’m bound for Shady Grove.

Peaches in the summertime,
Apples in the fall,
If I can’t have the girl I love,
Won’t have one at all.

Shady Grove, my true love,
Shady Grove, my darlin'
Shady Grove, my true love,
I'm goin' down to Harlan.

Shady Grove, my true love,
Shady Grove, I say,
Shady Grove, my true love,
I'm bound to go away.

When I was a little boy,
I wanted a barlow knife,
Nowadays the only thing I want
Is to make Shady Grove my wife.

Wish I had a fine gold thread,
Fine as I could sew,
I’d sew that little gal to my side
And down the road we’d go.

Wish I had a banjo string
Made of golden twine,
And every tune I’d pick on it
Is ‘I wish that gal were mine.’

Shady Grove, my true love,
Shady Grove, I say,
Shady Grove, my true love,
I'm bound to go away.

Shady Grove, my true love,
Shady Grove, I know,
Shady Grove, my true love,
I'm bound for Shady Grove.

Some come here to fiddle and dance,
Come come here to tarry,
Some come here to fiddle and dance,
I come here to marry.

Barbara Allen

‘Twas in the merry month of May
When green buds all were swellin’,
Sweet William on his deathbed lay
For the love of Barbry Allen.

He sent his servant to the town
To the place where she was dwellin’,
Saying you must come to my master dear,
If your name be Barbry Allen.

So slowly, slowly she got up,
And slowly she drew nigh him,
And the only words to him did say:
Young man, I think you’re dying.

He turned his face unto the wall,
And Death was in him wellin’,
Goodbye, goodbye to my friends all;
Be good to Barbry Allen.

When he was dead and laid in grave,
She heard the death bell knellin’,
And every stroke to her did say:
Hard-hearted Barbry Allen.

Oh mother, oh mother, go dig my grave,
Make it both long and narrow.
Sweet William died of love for me,
And I shall die of sorrow.

And father, oh father, go dig my grave,
Make it both long and narrow.
Sweet William died on yesterday,
And I will die tomorrow.

Barbry Allen was buried in the old church yard,
Sweet William was buried beside her;
Out of Sweet William’s heart, there grew a rose,
Out of Barbry Allen’s, a briar.

They grew and grew in the old church yard
Till they could grow no higher.
In the end, they formed a true lover’s knot,
And the rose grew round the briar.

Euroclydon (“Psalme 107 for Marriners”)
They that go down to the Sea in Ships,
and occupy their Business in great Waters;
these Men see God's Wonders,
His great and mighty Wonders in the Deep.
For He commanded the stormy Winds to blow,
and He lifted up the Waves thereof.
They are mounted up as it were into Heav'n,
and then down into the Deep;
and their Souls melt away with Trouble.
They reel and stagger to and fro like a drunken Man,
and are at their Wit's End.
Then they cry unto God in their Trouble,
and He bringeth them out of their Distresses.
He maketh the Storm a Calm,
so that the Waves are still.
Then they are glad because they are quiet;
and He bringeth the Vessel into Port.
And all huzza.
Their Friends assembl'd on the Wharf
to welcome them on Shore.
And all huzza.
Welcome here again, welcome Home.