♫ Rochester’s Farewell (If)

“If” is a vocal piece by Michael Nyman full of yearning, and one I have been meaning to re-record ever since uploading a terrible quality video about 6 years ago! The composition originally appeared in an animated version of “The Diary of Anne Frank”, and later in the soundtrack of “The Libertine” (2004), a film by Laurence Dunmore starring Johnny Depp. I performed it a number of times with Alice Woodberry and it always drew an appreciate response.


It actually began to rain throughout recording, but instead of starting again (which I’d already done a few times) I just kept going because it added an appropriate sort of ambience. For comparison, I’m also including the original recordings below. To be honest, I think hearing Hilary Summers sing in this piece may have really been the catalyst for my love of contraltos (and subsequently of counter-tenors and castrati history). Such warmth and resonance elicited by her voice!


Lyrics from “The Diary of Anne Frank”:

If … at the sound of wish
The summer sun would shine
And if … just a smile would do
To brush all the clouds from the sky

If … at the blink of an eye
The autumn leaves would whirl
And if … you could sigh a deep sigh
To scatter them over the earth

*I’d blink my eyes
And wave my arms
I’d wish a wish
To stop all harm

If … at the wave of a hand
The winter snows would start
And if … you could just light a candle
To change people’s feelings and hearts

**I’d whisper love
In every land
To every child
Woman and man

***That’s what I’d do
If my wishes would come true
That’s what I’d do
If my wishes could come true

(** Repeat)
(*** Repeat)

Lyrics from “The Libertine”:

If, underneath death’s cold wing,
His restless soul should fly away,
Beyond the grasp of fools,
T’would meet with the bliss they deny,
So stand for him, kneel for him,
As he lies low in kneaded clay,
Pray for him, who prayed too late,
That he might shine on judegment day.

Kyrie Eleison. Christe Eleison.
Kyrie Eleison. Christe Eleison.

O Domine Deus dona nobis pacem.
O Domine Deus dona nobis pacem.

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Magnolias blooming – one week after this post.



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