This Human Life

Mixed choir a cappella

Lyrics: R.H.Stoddard, Will­iam Blake, Edward Broadbridge, Woody Allen

Commissioned by Schwäbischer Kunstsommer 2017

The piece deals with thoughts about life and death, worries and speculations that occupy our minds. Described in serious, humorous, grotesque and promising words by R.H.Stoddard, William Blake, Edward Broadbridge and Woody Allen.

Richard Henry Stoddard (1825 - 1903) was an American critic and poet. More important than his critical was his poetical work, which at its best is sincere, original and marked by delicate fancy, and felicity of form; and his songs have given him a high and permanent place among American lyric poets.

Edward Broadbridge (1944)

William Blake (1757 - 1827 ) was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of the poetry.

Woody Allen (b. 1935) is a well-known American actor, author, filmmaker and comedian.

  1. The flight of the arrow
    The life of man is an arrow's flight,
    Out of darkness into light,
    And out of light into darkness again.
    Perhaps to pleasure, perhaps to pain!
    There must be something above or below,
    Somewhere unseen, a mighty bow,
    A hand that tires not, a sleepless eye,
    That sees the arrows fly an fly.
    One who knows why we live and die.
    – R.H. Stoddard (1825 – 1903)

  2. What’ best for you
    What’s best for you may just not be
    what’s also best for me:
    but if we keep good company
    we’ll find what’s best for ‘we’.

    It became He when the Universe sang –
    God at the core of the Biggest Bang.

    We procreate and animate,
    then celebrate and terminate.
    – Edward Broadbridge (1944)

  3. Know your mind
    Know your mind before you speak,
    and Know yourself, so said the Greek.

    If only we could purchase peace,
    If only we could mine it,
    If only it would grow on trees,
    But no, we have to sign it.

    Loving care or hateful strife?
    Welcome to this human life!
    Edward Broadbridge (1944 )

    Every night and every morn
    Some to misery are born
    Every morn and every night
    Some are born to sweet delight
    Some are born to sweet delight
    Some are born to endless night
    William Blake (1757 - 1827)

  4. Eternity
    Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est
    Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor
    Exultemus, et in ipso jucundemur
    – Gregorian chant

    Eternity must be boring - especially towards the endning.
    It’s not that I’m afraid to die – I just don’t want to be there when it happens.
    Life is divided into the horrible and the miserable.
    Life is full of misery, loneliness and suffering – and it's all over much too soon.
    I recently turned sixty. Practically a third of my life is over.
    You can live to be a hundred if you give up all the things that make you want to live to be a hundred.
    – Woody Allen (1935)

    Dona nobis pacem
    Miserere nobis.
    Amen.