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Out of Hours by DAVID BRUCE


Out of Hours is a setting of 5 poems which share a common theme of those parts of the day - the early morning and the late evening - where we're prone to feeling more connected to life and emotions.

The cycle opens with Shakespeare's Full Many a Glorious Morning have I seen, a brooding sonnet comparing the poet's troubled friendship to the way the clouds erase a glorious sunrise. This is followed by Blake's 'Nurses Song' from Songs of Innocence and of Experience - an achingly sweet portrait of children wanting to stay out to play 'just a little longer'.

Next comes a duet for soprano and bass - a jaunty setting of a jaunty poem - Paul Laurence Dunbar's 'Tis Morning', followed by another bass solo - setting John Donne's masterpiece 'The Sun Rising', in which the lover, lying in his bed in the early hours, mocks the sun, suggesting the only world it should be shining on is the world of "this bed" and "these walls".

The cycle is rounded off by a setting of Keat's 'On Leaving some Friends at an early Hour" - the sense in the poem is that it's the early hours of the morning, only stragglers are left on the street, and the poet seems to be enjoying that feeling of a night spent in good company that has ended all too soon.


1. Full Many a Glorious Morning by William Shakespeare

Full many a glorious morning have I seen
Flatter the mountain-tops with sovereign eye,
Kissing with golden face the meadows green,
Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy;
Anon permit the basest clouds to ride
With ugly rack on his celestial face
And from the forlorn world his visage hide,
Stealing unseen to west with this disgrace.
Even so my sun one early morn did shine
With all-triumphant splendour on my brow;
But out, alack! he was but one hour mine;
The region cloud hath mask'd him from me now.
Yet him for this my love no whit disdaineth;
Suns of the world may stain when heaven's sun staineth.

2.Nurse's song by William Blake

When the voices of children are heard on the green
And laughing is heard on the hill,
My heart is at rest within my breast
And every thing else is still

Then come home my children, the sun is gone down
And the dews of night arise
Come come leave off play, and let us away
Till the morning appears in the skies

No no let us play, for it is yet day
And we cannot go to sleep
Besides in the sky, the little birds fly
And the hills are all cover’d with sheep

Well well go & play till the light fades away
And then go home to bed
The little ones leaped & shouted & laugh’d
And all the hills echoed

3.'Tis morning by Paul Laurence Dunbar

The mist has left the greening plain,
The dew-drops shine like fairy rain,
The coquette rose awakes again
Her lovely self adorning.

The Wind is hiding in the trees,
A sighing, soothing, laughing tease,
Until the rose says "Kiss me, please,"
'Tis morning, 'tis morning.

With staff in hand and careless-free,
The wanderer fares right jauntily,
For towns and houses are, thinks he,
For scorning, for scorning.
My soul is swift upon the wing,
And in its deeps a song I bring;
Come, Love, and we together sing,
"'Tis morning, 'tis morning."

4. The Sun Rising by John Donne

Busy old fool, unruly sun,
Why dost thou thus,
Through windows, and through curtains call on us?
Must to thy motions lovers' seasons run?
Saucy pedantic wretch, go chide
Late school boys and sour prentices,
Go tell court huntsmen that the king will ride,
Call country ants to harvest offices,
Love, all alike, no season knows nor clime,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.

Thy beams, so reverend and strong
Why shouldst thou think?
I could eclipse and cloud them with a wink,
But that I would not lose her sight so long;
If her eyes have not blinded thine,
Look, and tomorrow late, tell me,
Whether both th' Indias of spice and mine
Be where thou leftst them, or lie here with me.
Ask for those kings whom thou saw'st yesterday,
And thou shalt hear, All here in one bed lay.

She's all states, and all princes, I,
Nothing else is.
Princes do but play us; compared to this,
All honor's mimic, all wealth alchemy.
Thou, sun, art half as happy as we,
In that the world's contracted thus.
Thine age asks ease, and since thy duties be
To warm the world, that's done in warming us.
Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere;
This bed thy center is, these walls, thy sphere.

5.On Leaving some Friends at an Early Hour by John Keats

GIVE me a golden pen, and let me lean
On heap’d up flowers, in regions clear, and far;
Bring me a tablet whiter than a star,
Or hand of hymning angel, when ’tis seen
The silver strings of heavenly harp atween:
And let there glide by many a pearly car,
Pink robes, and wavy hair, and diamond jar,
And half discovered wings, and glances keen.
The while let music wander round my ears,
And as it reaches each delicious ending,
Let me write down a line of glorious tone,
And full of many wonders of the spheres:
For what a height my spirit is contending!
’Tis not content so soon to be alone.

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for Soprano, Bass, String Septet

Soprano Voice, Bass Voice, 2 Vlns, 2 Vlas, 2 Vlcs, Bass

Duration 20 mins
Composed Oct 2018-Jan 2019
First performance Matthew Rose, Katherine Broderick, Temple Church, London, 30 Apr , 2019
Commissioned by

Related Posts

 • Two Premieres (1/29/2019)


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