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Love Always

  • Score: $1.50 (for reproduction rights; minimum purchase of 10 required; additional charge for hard copies)
  • SATB chorus/soprano saxophone
  • Secular text (free translation of Victor Hugo’s “Aimons toujours!”)
  • 5:45
  • Difficulty rating (1-5): 4
  • Hear a performance of the work (New Hampshire Master Chorale, Dan Perkins, conductor; Rik Pfenninger, soprano saxophone)
  • View a PDF score excerpt
  • Purchase, request full review copy or more information, etc.
  • Commissioned by the New Hampshire Master Chorale, Dan Perkins, Music Director
  • Premiered by them on November 19, 2010

When Dan Perkins and I discussed potential works for the New Hampshire Master Chorale's  Fall 2010 concerts centered on France, our ideas began to coalesce around two distinct compositions for it – one involving some straight-ahead jazz (see Waltzes About France elsewhere on this site), and one in a more standard vein.  I knew that the Master Chorale would be joined by a quartet featuring a saxophonist (an instrument born in France), so I began thinking about a “non-jazz” work for chorus and soprano saxophone, featuring a translated French text.  Several sources pointed me to Victor Hugo’s powerful poem “Aimons toujours! Aimons encore!” – I fell in love with the text, and ultimately (and perhaps foolhardily!) made my own free translation of it for the piece, entitled Love Always! after the first words of Hugo’s text.

Love always!  Love still!
When love departs, hope flies away.
Love is the shout of the dawn.
Love is the hymn of the night.

What the tide says to the shore,
what the wind says to the old mountains,
what the star says to the clouds,
is that indescribable word: Love!

Let us always love more,
more united each day!
May our souls grow in love
like the trees’ innumerable leaves!

We are the mirror and the reflection!
We are the flower and the perfume!
Two lovers who, alone in shadow,
are one!

Come to me!
Come to me, my happiness, my law!
Angel! Come to me when you sing,
and, when you weep, come to me!

Ambition, subtle inferno
burning in our minds,
falls as ash or flies as smoke,
and we say to ourselves, "What's left?"

Fleeting pleasure, barely-budded flower
in this dark and tarnished April,
loses its petals and dies,
and we say to ourselves, "That’s it?"

Love alone remains!
If you want, on this base journey,
to guard your faith, to save your soul,
to keep your God, keep love!

Even though you cry and suffer,
preserve in your heart
the flame that cannot perish,
and the flower that cannot die!

I would gladly trade the riches
that intoxicate the bandit or king
for the shadow you cast on my book
when your face bends down over me.

      -- freely translated from Victor Hugo, “Aimons toujours!  Aimons encore!”                                                                                                                           
(Les Contemplations -- 1856)



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