A Birthday

SATB (div.) a capella

A Birthday was composed for Floyd Farmer and the Camerata Singers of West Michigan in commemoration of their 25th Anniversary. The Christina Rosetti poem is about a birthday, and its many references to silver were perfectly suited to a "silver" anniversary. I played with the birds in the poem by weaving bird songs throughout the piece, which begins with the women's voices chirping "cherry up cherry dee." The Muskegon Chronicle called the piece "delicate and sprightly with a foundation of dignified solemnity."


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Order Sheet Music
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Commissioned By: 
Camerata Singers of West Michigan
Premiere Ensemble: 
Camerata Singers of West Michigan
Premiere Conductor: 
Floyd Farmer
Text Author or Source: 
Christina Rosetti

A Birthday

My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a water'd shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree
Whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these
Because my love has come to me.

Raise me a dais of silk and down;
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me.

From Christina Rossetti, Poems (1890)