Image by Weston MacKinnon

My Own Vineyard

2020 • Soprano & Piano • 5'

an art song on spirituality, morality, & sacred sexuality with poetry from "Song of Songs" and Rumi 

Image by Tim Mossholder

Performance

Mira Huang & Lauren Spavelko. NEO Voice Festival "New Morality Play." Los Angeles, California. July 2020. (Virtual Premiere due to COVID)

Premiere

Program Note

“My Own Vineyard” explores the relationship between the body and spirituality / morality. The poetry combines lines from the Song of Songs and poems by Rumi with original text to structure a new narrative. It has four principal sections, each beginning with the words “my own vineyard” as a metaphor for the singer's physical body. In the first, she acknowledges how she has not kept, honored, or protected her body. In the second, she practices self-love and renewal to reclaim her body and reconnect with sacred energy on her own. In the third, she shares a sexual & spiritual experience with a partner. Finally, she experiences a moment of transcendence through and with her body and connects with the divine energy of the universe.

 

This song was written for soprano Mira Huang for the 2020 New Exploratorio (NEO) Voice Festival New Morality Play in Los Angeles, California. It was premiered virtually in July 2020.

Text

Lines from Song of Songs

Lines by Rumi

Original lines

I.

My own vineyard I have not kept.

My feet are pricked by stinging nettles.

My hands pour sour wine.

My temple once resounded with song and prayer,

But my lips forget their form.

The world asked too much of me.

I'm sorry I did not protect you.

II.

My own vineyard is mine to reclaim.

If you will burn your house,

Burn it thoroughly.

Who will say, 'It's not allowed'?

I am like the candle, burning makes me brighter.

Love compels me to set the brush afire.

I will sweep the valleys and climb the hills

to light the temple hearth.

My body blazes in the fire of love.

All that is profane becomes sacred again.

III.

My own vineyard is mine to give.

Already new life springs forth from fertile soil.

Come, my darling, my beautiful one,

come with me until the day breaks and the shadows flee.

I will open to you.

Blow on my garden, that its fragrance may spread everywhere.

Come away, my beloved, and be like a gazelle on the spice-laden mountains.

Embrace me in wildfire and rain.

A shiver, a caress, 

A thousand pleasant touches along my spine,

And through my temple halls, a song!

IV.

My own vineyard I leave behind

For a moment in time

To taste the divine.

I am in the house of mercy

And my heart is a place of prayer.

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The New Morality Play

If you enjoyed this piece, check out the larger work it belongs to—The New Morality Play.

This collaborative work includes 12 new works for solo voice & vocal ensemble.

The NEO Voice Festival brings together performers & composers to deepen the understanding of voice through the powerful lens of voice science and to explore creativity through writing and presenting contemporary vocal music.