A child of our time (Michael Tippett)
Part I No. 1 Chorus The world turns on its dark side. It is winter. No. 2 The Argument Man has measued the heavens with a teles- cope, driven the gods from their thrones. But the soul, watching the chaotic mirror, knows that the gods return. Truely the living god consumes within, and turns the flesh, and turns the flesh to cancer! Interludium No. 3 Scena - Chorus & Alto Solo Is evil then good? Is reason untrue? Reason is true to itself; But pity breaks open the heart. We are lost. We are as seed before the wind. We are carried to a great slaughter. No. 4 The Narrator (Bass Solo) Now in each nation there were some cast out by authority and tormented, made to suffer for the gen'ral wrong. Pogroms in the east, lynching in the west; Europe brooding on a war of starvation. And a great cry went up from the people. No. 5 Chorus of the oppressed When shall the usurers city cease? And famine depart from the fruitful land? No. 6 Tenor Solo I have no money for my bread; I have no gift for my love. I am caught between my desires and their frustrations as between the hammer and the anvil. How can I grow to a man's stature? No. 7 Soprano Solo How can I cherish my man in such days, or become a mother in a world of destruction? How shall I feed my children on so small a wage? How can I comfort them when I am dead? No. 8 A Spiritual (Chorus & Soli) Steal away, steal away, steal away to Jesus; Steal away, steal away home - I han't got long to stay here. My Lord, He calls me, He calls me by the thunder, The trumpet sounds within-a my soul, I han't got long to stay here. Green trees a-bending, poor sinner stand a-trembling, The trumpet sounds within-a my soul, I han't got long to stay here. Steal away, steal away, steal away to Jesus; Steal away, steal away home - I han't got long to stay here. No. 9 Chorus A star rises in mid-winter. Behold he man! The scape-goat! The child of our time No. 10 The Narrator (Bass Solo) And a time came when in the continual persection one race stood for all. No. 11 Double Chorus of Persecutors and Persecuted Away with them! Where, where? Curse them! Kill them! Why, why? They infect the state. How? We have no refuge. Nr. 12 The Narrator (Bass Solo) Where they could, they fled from the terror. And among them a boy escaped secretly, and was kept in hiding in a great city. No. 13 Chorus of the Self-righteous We cannot have them in our Empire. They shall not work, nor draw a dole, Let them starve in No-Man's Land! No. 14 The Narrator (Bass Solo) And the boy's mother wrote a letter, saying: No. 15 Scena (The Mother, the Uncle and Aunt, the Boy) (Solo Quartet) The Mother (Soprano) O my son! In the dread terror they have brought me near to death. The Boy (Tenor) Mother! Ah Mother! Though men hunt me like an animal, I will defy the world to reach you. The Aunt (Alto) Have patience. Throw not your life away in futile sacrifice. The Uncle (Baß) You are as one against all. Accept the impotence of your humanity. The Boy No! I must save her. No. 16 A Spiritual (Chorus & Soli) Nobody knows the trouble I see, Lord, Nobody knows the trouble I see. Nobody knows the trouble I see, Lord, Nobody knows like Jesus. O brothers, pray for me, And help me to drive old Satan away. O mothers, pray for me And help me to drive old Satan away. Nobody knows the trouble I see, Lord, Nobody knows the trouble I see. Nobody knows the trouble I see, Lord, Nobody knows like Jesus. No. 17 Scena (Duet - Bass und Alto Soli) Narrator The boy becomes desperate in his agony Alto A curse is born. The dark forces threaten him. Narrator He goes to authority. He is met with hostility Alto His other self rises in him, demonic and destructive. Narrator He shoots the offical - Alto But he shoots only his dark brother - And see ... he is dead. No. 18 The Narrator (Bass Solo) They took a terrible vengeance. No. 19 The Terror (Chorus) Burn down their houses! Beat in their heads! Break them in pieces on the wheel! No. 20 The Narrator (Bass Solo) Men were ashamed of what was done. There was bitterness and horror. Nr. 21 Spiritual of Anger (Chorus and Bass Solo) Go down, Moses, 'way down to Egypt land; Tell old Pharao, to let my people go. When Israel was in Egypt land, Let my people got, Oppressed so hard they could not stand, Let my people go, "Thus spake the Lord", bold Moses said, Let my people go, "If not, I'll smite your first born dead", Let my people go. Go down, Moses, 'way down in Egypt land; Tell old Pharao, to let my people go. No. 22 The boy sings in his prison (Tenor Solo) My dreams are all shattered in a ghastly reality. The wild beating of my heart is stilled: day by day. Earth and sky are not for those in prison. Mother! Mother! No. 23 The Mother (Soprano Solo) What have I done to you, my son? What will become of us now? The springs of hope are dried up. My heart aches in unending pain. No. 24 Alto Solo The dark forces rise like a flood. Men's hearts are heavy: they cry for peace. No. 25 A Spiritual (Chorus and Soprano Solo) O, by and by, by and by, I`m going to lay down my heavy load. I know my robe's going to fit me well, I tried it on at the gates of hell. O, hell is deep and a dark despair, O, stop, poor sinner, and don`t go there! O, by and by, by and by, I`m going to lay down my heay load. Part III No. 26 Chorus The cold deepens. The world descends into the icy waters where lies the jewel of great price. No. 27 Alto Solo The soul of man is impassioned like a woman: She is old as the earth, beyond good and evil, the sensual garments. Her face will be illumined like the sun. Then is the time of his deliverance. No. 28 Scena (Bass Solo and Chorus) Bass The words of wisdom are these: Winter cold means inner warmth, the secret nursery of the seed. Chorus How shall we have patience, patience for the consummation of the mystery? Who will comfort us in the going through? Bass Patience is born in the tension of loneliness. The garden lies beyond the desert. Chorus Is the man of destiny master of us all? Shall those cast out, cast out be unavenged? Bass The man of destiny is cut off from fellowship. Healing springs from the womb of time. The simple-hearted shall exult in the end. Chorus What of the boy, then? What of him? Bass He, too, is outcast, his manhood broken in the clash of powers. God overpowered him the child of our time. General Ensemble No. 29 Chorus and Soli I would know my shadow and my light, so shall I at last be whole. The courage, brother, dare the grave passage. Here is no final grieving, but an abiding hope. The moving waters renew the earth. It is spring. No. 30 A Spiritual (Chorus and Soli) Deep river, my home is over Jordan, deep river, Lord, I want to cross over into camp-ground.