for soprano and piano
I: YOU ARE THERE
A wedding present for Adrian and Susan Snell
Before I hear the music you are there before I catch the fragrance you are there before I rise to greet you
before I thrill to greet you
before I start to sing my song of love,
my love, You are there.
And when the music’s over
the fragrance but a memory
and all my songs of joy and love
have winged their way to heaven above, when silence is the sole surrounding me,
my love, You are there.
Words and music:
Doug Constable © 1977 / 2013
The ‘digestive’ after a dramatised meal ‘Table Talk’, held at Lee Abbey, Devon
Love bade me welcome
yet my soul drew back
guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-ey’d Love,
observing me grow slack
from my first entrance in,
drew nearer to me
sweetly questioning if I lacked anything.
A guest, I answered, worthy to be here. Love said, You shall be he.
I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah my dear, I cannot look on thee.
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply, Who made the eyes but I?
Truth Lord, but I have marr’d them; let my shame go where it doth deserve. And know you not, says Love,
who b ore the blame?
My dear, then I will serve.
You must sit down, says Love,
And taste my meat.
So I did sit and eat.
Poem: George Herbert (1593-16330) Music: Doug Constable © 1976 / 2013
III: WAYFARER MAN
In memory of Fred Grocott, one of many homeless people who called at our vicarage door in Derby.
Wayfarer man, you hold out your hand and trouble my heart with your gall. Wayfarer man, can you understand
I didn’t invite you to call.
Every time I sit me down for a meal, start to enjoy conversation that’s real, then you ring the doorbell
and you make your appeal:
“I’ll thank you for a better deal.”
Wayfarer man, you take up your stand
to get all the help you can find.
Wayfarer man, I know you’ve been slammed
and spat on and shut out of mind.
I keep thinking that you shouldn’t be here,
you should not have to suffer so dear.
Still you answer, “Keep your pity year after year: I’ll thank you for a bit of cheer!”
You’re so sad and worn.
Why were you ever born?
Your new day – will it dawn?
Why d’you look to me to make you whole?
You don’t say your name -
you’re not looking for fame;
I know you just the same:
Brother, can you really save my soul?
Wayfarer man, you held out your hand,
you came for my love and my all.
Wayfarer man, this land is your land;
I’ll give what I can when you call.
Opening doors, you share your life full of need; care’s your cause and an end to all greed. Seeking for a welcome in word and deed,
I’ll thank you for your love for me!
Words and music:
Doug Constable © 1985 /2013
IV: THIS BREAD I BREAK
Intermezzo between courses in ‘Table Talk’
This bread I break was once the oat, This wine upon a foreign tree Plunged in its fruit;
Man in the day or wine at night
Once in this wine the summer blood Knocked in the flesh that decked the vine, Once in this bread
The oat was merry in the wind;
Man broke the sun, pulled the wind down.
The flesh you break, this blood you let Make desolation in the vein
Were oat and grape
Born of the sensual root and sap;
My wine you drink, my bread you snap.
Poem: Dylan Thomas 1914-1953
Music: Doug Constable © 1976 /2013
V: COME, MAKE WAY FOR THE MUSIC
Originally an SATB hymn for a festival in Winchester Cathedral, here dedicated to Andrew Douglas-Forbes and Konstantin Lapshin
Come, make way for the music that sires the stars!
Make way for the silence that births the years! Make way for the yearning that forms each name
Make way for the heartbeat that calls us home. Make way for the highest among us!
Come, make way for the neighbour who takes your hand!
Make way for the stranger who shares our land.
Make way for the cast-offs who bear our pain. Make way for the helpless who suffer disdain. Make way for the lowest among us!
Come, make way for the leaven that raises bread.
Make way for the Spirit to rouse the dead! Make way for the host whoembraces the lost. Make way for the last who will surely be first. Make way for the fullness among us
Come, make way for our bodies with joy to bound! Make way for our voices as thanks resound!
Make way for a ferment of passion and praise.
Make way for a flowering of love always.
Make way for the glory among us!
Words and music: Doug Constable © 1995 / 2013
Doug Constable Five Songs of Presence