SSATTB a cappella
Lyrics by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Duration: ca. 4:30
Premiere performance by Vox 16 – click on video above to hear recording and view perusal score
Timelessness permeates the mood of this song as the narrator wonders at the familiar scenes and the beloved person who seems both new and newly discovered. With a sense of dejà vu, a dream, or perhaps something else entirely, the music reflects this mood by growing out of a repeated descending line of four notes that seem to continue endlessly, beginning and ending, repeating and floating away, and ultimately concluding with a cadence that could lead to the beginning once again. The sudden light of the title may be a memory, a flash of understanding, heat, flame, or delight, which shall be taken even as time passes and death awaits.
I have been here before, But when or how I cannot tell:
I know the grass beyond the door, The sweet keen smell,
The sighing sound, the lights around the shore.
You have been mine before, How long ago I may not know:
But just when at that swallow’s soar Your neck turned so,
Some veil did fall – I knew it all of yore.
Has this been thus before? And shall not thus time’s eddying flight
Still with our lives our love restore In death’s despite,
And day and night yield one delight once more?
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