The Landowner


Performed on February 10, 2017 by:

Sopranos: Sarah Baumgarten, Camille Crossot, Caitlin Duckworth, Katherine Holobinko, Claire Iverson, Caroline Preziosi, Lauren Vanden Broeck
Altos: Bronte Ficek, Brandon Shaw McKnight, Laura Spence, Cynthia Sutton, Esther Tien
Tenors: Steve Crino, Richard Drehoff Jr., Keane Ong, Ryan Tani
Bass: John T.K. Scherch
Conducted by Christian Humcke

I wrote the poem "The Landowner" a few years ago in a poetry class
at my undergraduate, Bucknell University. When I heard that there was an opportunity to write for a student formed choir at Peabody, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to set one of my previously written poems to music. He looked back at poems which he had written, and came across “The Landowner”. It continues to intrigue me to this day since I am still uncertain of what it is about. This enigmatic, earthy, and hauntingly repetitive poem poses more questions than it does give answers. This is something which fascinates me, and which I sought to depict in the music.

The Landowner:

The landowner sends out his three servants.
Each go to work in separate fields;
To rake the leaves,
to harvest the crops,
to pluck the fruits from the tree.

Working endlessly,
They turn their heads from each other.
They refuse to help,
they refuse to talk.
Good work is done,
but for what purpose?

The landowner plucks fresh leaves
from a papaya tree.
Although he is blind,
he still sees the sun.
The mooing of cows and
crowing of roosters ceases.

He stands in the shade,
waiting for his servants.
They offer him papaya,
He shakes his head

Christian Humcke