SSAA a cappella
Lyrics based on trial testimony from Salem, 1692
Duration: ca. 4:00
The text for this piece is based on trial testimony from the Salem Witch Trials, which took place in 1692 and 1693 in colonial Massachussets and resulted in the executions of twenty people, most of whom were women. Both the accused and the accusers are present in the music, which offers glimpses of emotional turmoil, confusion, aggression, panic, innocence, guilt, resolution, and, poignantly, forgiveness.
This disturbing historical event was captured in music at a time when modern-day witch hunting was in the news of South Africa, Somalia, and Papua New Guinea. Indeed, despite the horror and revulsion prevalent among those who hear of the Salem Witch Trials, hate crimes continue to occur in this country and around the world. It's my hope that a recounting of the events in Salem will draw a clear line to our times and bring us into the experience of those unjustly accused.
Whereas I am condemned to die,
That the evidence giv'n against me were untrue,
I humbly beg that my life may not be taken away.
(Execute her! Burn her!)
I am ignorant of the crime of witchcraft
For which I am condemned to die.
Your poor and humble petitioner shall forever
Pray for your health and happiness in this life
And eternal felicity in the world to come.
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