Frederic Rzewski – to the earth (1985) for speaking percussionist
Drik Rothbrust, percussion
Janet Sinica, video
Hendrik Manook, sound design
To the Earth, Mother of all,
I will sing the well established, the oldest,
Who nourishes on her surface everything that lives.
Those things that walk upon the holy ground,
And those that swim in the sea,
And those that fly in the air,
All these are nourished by your abundance.
It is thanks to you if we humans have healthy children,
And rich harvests.
Great Earth, you have the power to give life to,
And to take it away from creatures that must die.
Happy are the ones whom you honor with your kindness and gifts. What they have built will not vanish,
Their fields are fertile. Their herds prosper.
And their houses are full of good things.
Their cities are governed with just laws. Their women are beautiful.
Good fortune and wealth follow them.
Their children of radiant with the joys of youth.
The young women play in the flowery meadows,
Dancing with happiness in their hearts.
Holy Earth, undying Spirit,
So it is with those whom you honor:
Hail to you, Mother of life,
You who are loved by the starry sky,
Be generous and give me a happy life in return for my song,
So that I can continue to praise you with my music.
Dirk Rothbrust performed to the earth by Frederic Rzewski live to tape for our Lockdown Tapes series.
His thoughts about this piece:
With the tuning fork in the DIY store in front of the flower pot shelf.funny !How “serious” does Rzewski mean the hymn to the earth actually? Is it kitsch, is it an appeal to us all?funny ? Not really.
Unfortunately, the relevance of the text cannot be beaten.
Dirk Rothbrust, August 2020