‘Wind Whines’ (2021) is a cycle of three songs to poems from ‘Pomes penyeach’, written by James Joyce in Trieste just before the First World War. The message of songs is catastrophic – death and the inevitability of what life brings throws our feelings and close relationships with people to fate. 'Wind Whines' is composed for baritone and piano.
Poems by James Joyce:
I. On the Beach at Fontana
Wind whines and whines the shingle,
The crazy pierstakes groan;
A senile sea numbers each single
From whining wind and colder
Grey sea I wrap him warm
And touch his trembling fineboned shoulder
And boyish arm.
Around us fear, descending
Darkness of fear above
And in my heart how deep unending
Ache of love!
II. Watching the Needleboats at San Sabba
I heard their young hearts crying
Loveward above the glancing oar
And heard the prairie grasses sighing:
No more, return no more!
O hearts, O sighing grasses,
Vainly your loveblown bannerets mourn!
No more will the wild wind that passes
Return, no more return.
III. She Weeps over Rahoon
Rain on Rahoon falls softly, softly falling,
Where my dark lover lies.
Sad is his voice that calls me, sadly calling,
At grey moonrise.
Love, hear thou
How soft, how sad his voice is ever calling,
Ever unanswered, and the dark rain falling,
Then as now.
Dark too our hearts, O love, shall lie and cold
As his sad heart has lain
Under the moongrey nettles, the black mould
And muttering rain.
You can listen to 'Wind Whines' here: