The Tenant: A Recitative

stained glass image of the Lamb of God

George Herbert's poem "Redemption" (published in 1633), set for baritone accompanied by piano.

I wanted a short recitative setting of this poem for an offertory. I took inspiration (and some phrases) from Don Freund's setting of the poem (with his permission, for which I am deeply grateful).

The text

I paraphrased George Herbert's poem "Redemption" to replace some non-inclusive language that distracted from the poem's meaning.

Paraphrase of George Herbert's "Redemption" (1633)

As long-time tenant to a wealthy Lord,
   not thriving, I resolvèd to be bold
   and make suit to the Owner to afford
a new, reduced-rent lease, and cancel th'old.

At Heaven’s manor, thus, my Lord I sought:
   They told me that my Lord was lately gone
   about some land on Earth, so dearly bought
quite long ago, to take possession.

Returning, knowing of my Lord's great birth,
   I searched accordingly in great resorts;
   in cities, theaters, gardens, parks, and courts:

At length, I heard a ragged noise and mirth
   of thieves and murd'rers: there my Lord I spied,
   who said, "Your suit is granted," and then died.

Demo audio

Demo video score