A song cycle for Baritone, Viola and Piano using english translations of the poems of Michelangelo. Commissioned by Michael Lampard with funding from MONA FOMA. Premiered by Michael Lampard, Karen Smithies and Jo St Leon at the Baha’i centre in Hobart for MONA FOMA 2011.

Read a review of the premiere here.

Programme Notes
Matthew Dewey’s Il Tempo Passa was commissioned by Michael Lampard for performance in this recital at Mona Foma 2011. In composing the cycle Matthew took the notion of writing music that moves in and out of a historically referential musical language. In doing this, he composed a work that is both modern and timeless, focusing on the devout, sacred nature of Michelangelo’s poetry and the themes included within. The work has an almost mystical quality, and one that talks directly to the audience of Michelangelo’s struggle and self-expression. The poems for Matthew Dewey’s work are modern English translations of Michelangelo’s poetry.

Movement List and Text

1. “If one chaste love”
If one chaste love, if one divine compassion,
If one destiny is equal for two lovers,
If one hard fate of the one is felt by the other,
If one spirit, if one will guides two hearts;
If one soul in two bodies makes itself eternal,
Lifting both to heaven with a single wing,
If Love in one blow and one golden arrow
The hearts in two chests can burn and tear;
If the one loves the other and neither loves himself,
With one pleasure and one delight, to such a measure
That one and the other desire to reach a single end:
Thousands and thousands would not make a hundredth
Of such a knot of love, or of such a faith:
And only anger could break and untie it.

2. Interlude 1 (No text)

3. “Everything ends which comes to be”
Everything ends which comes to be.
Everything all around passes away,
for time moves on, and the Sun sees
That everything all around passes away,
Thinking, speaking, pain, and joy;
And those who had been our grand children
Have vanished as shadows flee the day,
As a breath of wind dispels the mist.
Yes, we once were people too,
Glad and sad, just like you,
And now we are here lifeless,
Are but earth, as you can see.
Everything ends which comes to be.
Everything all around passes away.

4. Interlude 2 (no text)

Sleep likes me well, and better yet to know
I am but stone. While shame and grief must be,
Good hap is mine, to feel not, nor to see:
Take heed, then, lest thou wake me: ah, speak low.
(Text repeats)

6. “Unfinished Sonnet”
I live in sin, dying to myself I live;
Life is no longer mine, but belongs to sin;
My good is from heaven, my evil I give to myself,
From my own unbound will, which has been stolen from me.
My freedom is a slave, my divinity has made itself