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The Gazette asked each of the final four performers to share their piece with us.  The four performers received the task of composing a piece with a specific theme, each one receiving one of the four seasons.

 

Winter – Countess Chatricam Meghanta or “Megha”

Countess Megha performing in the finals.

The piece as performed is based on Purananuru poem # 69, as translated by A.K. Ramanujan.  The original poet was Alattur Kilar who was writing about the Tamil King Killivalavan. 

I modified it to fit the theme I was required to write to, “Winter” (I interpreted that to mean the rainy season in India), where I was, Concordia, and which king I was performing for.
~Megha

 

My singer friends,
here you are, lute in your hand,
a hunger in your belly
that no one heeds,
clutching at your waist,
a cloth of patches
with strange threads,
cold, wet,
on a body as aimless as a ruined man’s
and your family
dulled by poverty.

 

You round the whole earth
and you are here
to ask
in a small voice
for help.
So listen.

 

In Summer Time
His army slaughters the murderous
elephants of enemy kings,
leaves the wounded in pools of
blood, makes a slaughterhouse
of the battlefield.

 

Now, in the rainy season, he is in Concordia.
He is Brion, King of the East.
He wears perfect garlands, his
ornaments are flames of gold.
you can warm your hands by.

 

Go to him.
You will not ever need to stand in
the cold outside his great door.
Go fill your eyes with the gold,
the rice, the sweet liquor he
gives away to singers.

 

Once he knows you want in winter
you will not need to stand
with your lute in your hand
wet and empty.

 

Once you have seen him
you will wear lotuses of gold, flowers
no bee will touch.

 

He is warmth.
He is hospitality.
He is the light.

 

Spring – Maitresse Sabine de Kerbriant
sabine
I was given 30 minutes to prepare a contrafact (new lyrics set to an existing melody) on the theme of spring. For the tune, I chose “Douce dame jolie,” written ca. 1350 by Guillaume de Machaut. The original song is a virelai with a repeated refrain, with that structure partially mimicked here.

That fair and tender season
When leaves beyond all reason
Sprout green towards skies above
And all hearts turn towards love

So joyful we will be
While we may
While the flowers bloom so free
To welcome the new day
We will sing
And dance in revelry

Think kindly of me is my plea
So all the world may well see
That you and I share one heart
And never more will part

So joyful we will be
While we may
While the flowers bloom so free
To welcome the new day
We will sing
And dance in revelry

That fair and tender season
When leaves beyond all reason
Sprout green towards skies above
And all hearts turn towards love

Summer – Lady Lillie von der Tann
lillie
Lady Lillie presented an original song she had composed about the battle with the heat at this past Pennsic War.

The blazing sun beats down upon
My fencer’s mask and sword
With one last drink I head boldly
To meet my last reward
When fighting’s done, I know I’ll end
With bruises, stiff, and sore
Tis now I keep within my heart
Why we go out to war

Chorus:
For to war, war — on we must go
To strike our foes a mighty blow
Or to be felled down, like falling snow
But the sun, the sun, is our worst foe

I gasp for breath, what do I find?
An oven’s scorching heat
It washes over me and fails
To cool my fiery cheeks
My jerkin clings fast to my limbs
My pants unto my seat
I know now that my moistened death
By boiling I will meet

Chorus

At last the marshals call a hold
But say to my dismay
“The sun’s too hot — you’ll roast alive.
No more we’ll fight today.”
A groan from fencers one and all
Our grief it does convey.
I must return to camp but swear
We’ll fight again next day.

Chorus 2x

Autumn – Maestro Orlando di Sforza

orlando

Autumn Sonnet dedicated to Her Most Royal Majesty, Queen Anna

Wilted willows sway, shamed to raise their eyes.
Ivy bearded birch shakes his woeful head.
The frowning oak glares as all ’bout it dies,
Grave to know all the world shall soon be dead.

The quiver of ochre and scarlet leaves,
Frightened of their inevitable fall,
On the barest breath of blustery breeze
Each tree expecting soon to lose them all.

Alone and defiant she stands, complete.
The slender ginkgo slips her golden gown
Now naked, with amber folds at her feet,
Her gilded dance done as the sun goes down.

Let us shine like her, brazen in bold show,
Defying death’s touch with our auric glow.

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