• 2vn, va, vc, db
  • SATB
  • 13 min

Programme Note

Composer note:
Written to celebrate the bicentennial year of the Handel and Haydn Society, My Angel, His Name is Freedom sets to voices and strings the most compelling lines of The Boston Hymn, a poetic sermon by Ralph Waldo Emerson on attaining freedom from false masters. The string instruments are equal in importance to the singers in telling this story, enjoying long stretches of time in wordless interludes. The text, which builds in reverence, is:
The word of the Lord (Lo!)
by night, by the seaside (Lo!):
"I am tired of kings."
(Lo now!)
"I suffer them no more,"
(Lo now!)
"tyrants great and tyrants small."

The word of the Lord (Lo!)
in dark, in the daylight (Lo!):
"I will never have a noble!"
(Lo now!)
"I break your bonds."
(Lo now!)
"I unchain the slave."

"My angel, his name is Freedom.
Choose him to be your king.
Call the people together.
Choose men to rule.
None shall rule but the humble.
Govern the land and sea.
Make just laws under the sun.
Beware from right to swerve.
Carry my purpose forth
which neither halts nor shakes.
Lift up a people from the dust.
Trump of their rescue, sound!"

"My will fulfilled shall be.
My thunderbolt has eyes to see
his way home to the mark."
Lo now!
— Gabriela Lena Frank