Poet of the Body and the Soul
Scored for: SATB and piano
Text: Walt Whitman
Duration: 8:00 min.
Premiere: 3/17/12 The College of New Jersey Chorale, Mayo Concert Hall, The College of New Jersey Music Building
Commissioned by: The College of New Jersey Chorale, John Leonard, Artistic Director
Published by: Seeadot. Purchase here.
See preview score pages: POET OF THE BODY choral excerpt (PDF)
“Poet of the Body and the Soul was the first commission by The College of New Jersey Chorale, and what a fantastic commissioning experience it was! Working with Andrea gives your musicians the experience of music-making in its purist form. It was an absolute joy for my ensemble, pianist and myself to bring her amazing setting of Whitman’s text to life. Andrea’s passionate music and spirit inspired each of us to give our very best to each performance. This is a piece that you cannot wait to share with your audience!”
-John P. Leonard, Director, The College of New Jersey Chorale
“To capture the epic, sweeping nature of Whitman’s writing requires music equally grand in scope. This piece is at times meditative, and other time an outpouring of ecstatic emotion. It is a love song, a dance piece, and narrative, but always intensely lyrical. This is a joy to sing, a fun challenge for your pianist, and a great center piece to any concert.”
- Fahad Siadat, Seeadot Publishing
“This may be the best piece in See-A-Dot’s catalog . . . at the least it is certainly in the top three. NJ choir directors need to pick this up and program it.”
– JV – September 15, 2016
I am the poet of the Body and I am the poet of the Soul,
The pleasures of heaven are with me and the pains of hell are with me,
The first I graft and increase upon myself, the latter I translate into new tongue.
I am the poet of the woman the same as the man,
And I say it is as great to be a woman as to be a man,
And I say there is nothing greater than the mother of men.
I chant the chant of dilation or pride,
We have had ducking and deprecating about enough,
I show that size is only development.
I am he that walks with the tender and growing night,
I call to the earth and sea half-held by the night.
Press close bare-bosom’d night-press close magnetic nourishing night!
Night of south winds-night of the large few stars!
Still nodding night-mad naked summer night.
Smile O voluptuous cool-breath’d earth!
Earth of the slumbering and liquid trees!
Earth of departed sunset-earth of the mountains misty-topt!
Earth of the vitreous pour of the full moon just tinged with blue!
Earth of shine and dark mottling the tide of the river!
Earth of the limpid gray of clouds brighter and clearer for my sake!
Far-swooping elbow’d earth-rich apple-blossom’d earth!
Smile, for your lover comes.
Prodigal, you have given me love-therefore I to you give love!
O unspeakable passionate love.
Walt Whitman – excerpted from Song of Myself: No. 21