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From Shook Foil Perusal Score (non-printable)

From Shook Foil Perusal Score (non-printable)



SATB Chorus and Fixed Media

Text: Gerard Manley Hopkins


The poem is written by Gerard Manley Hopkins.  Primarily what attracted Mason to Hopkins' poetry is its sound.  Hopkins' poetry has a special rhythm to it, a rhythm he referred to as "sprung rhythm."  In fact, he wrote that his verse was "less to be read than heard."  In addition to "sprung rhythm" Hopkins also employs a heavy use of alliteration that is exploited in this composition.    There is an obvious tension between man and nature described in the poem.  This is reflected in the medium of the piece (fixed media and chorus), but not in the usual manner of contrasting machine sounds with human sounds.  Rather the expression of tension in the piece is created by the contrast of machine time with human time.  The time on the tape is bent and manipulated to attempt a human feel while at the same time the singers are required to bend towards the machine time by singing in as exact rhythm as possible. The smaller the gap between the two expressions of time, the greater the tension.


God's Grandeur


The world is charged with the grandeur of God.

It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;

It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil

Crushed.  Why do men then now not reck his rod?

Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;

And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;

And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil

Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.


And for all this, nature is never spent;

There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;

And though the last lights off the black West went

Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs--

Because the Holy Ghost over the bent

World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

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