A Burst of Song


1. A Shower of Mercy
2. A Kiss of Blessing (available as a stand alone octavo)
3. Thee and Me

SSAA, piano

"A Burst of Song" was commissioned by the New Jersey Gay Men's Chorus in 2010 for their 20th Anniversary Season. This community chorus had lived through the AIDS epidemic and with it, experienced great loss, and so I sought texts that celebrated the healing aspects of song. The poetry is from Gitanjali: Song Offerings (1912) by Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941). I hoped to illuminate the poet's heartfelt beliefs about the divine grace and power of song.

Perusal Score: 
Order Sheet Music
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Commissioned By: 
New Jersey Gay Men's Chorus (original TTBB version)
Premiere Ensemble: 
Aurora Chorus (SSAA)
Premiere Conductor: 
Joan Szymko

I love "Burst of Song." It's beauty was above and beyond my expectations when we commissioned it to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the New Jersey Gay Men's Chorus. The three movements work wonderfully together to express the beautiful, poignant poetry of Tagore. I can't wait to perform it again! — Steven Russell

Text Author or Source: 
Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)
English (original language, Bengali to translated into English by Rabindranath Tagore)

1. A Shower of Mercy
When the heart is hard and parched up,
come upon me with a shower of mercy.
When grace is lost from life,
come with a burst of song. - excerpt from "Beggarly Heart" (Gitanjali)
2. A Kiss of Blessing
This song of mine will wind its music around you,
my child, like the fond arms of love.
The song of mine will touch your forehead
like a kiss of blessing.
My song will be like a pair of wings to your dreams,
it will transport your heart to the verge of the unknown.
It will be like the faithful star overhead
when dark night is over your road.
My song will sit in the pupils of your eyes,
and will carry your sight into the heart of things.
And when my voice is silenced in death,
my song will speak in your living heart.
- from "This Song of Mine" (The Crescent Moon #38)
3. Thee and Me
The great pageant of thee and me has overspread the sky.
With the tune of thee and me all the air is vibrant,
and all ages pass with the hiding and seeking of thee and me.
- excerpt from "Maya" (Gitanjali)