Posted by: atowhee | May 20, 2023


The saddest noise, the sweetest noise

–Emily Dickinson

The saddest noise, the sweetest noise,
  The maddest noise that grows,—
The birds, they make it in the spring,
  At night’s delicious close.

Between the March and April line—
  That magical frontier
Beyond which summer hesitates,
  Almost too heavenly near.

It makes us think of all the dead
  That sauntered with us here,
By separation’s sorcery
  Made cruelly more dear.

It makes us think of what we had,
  And what we now deplore.
We almost wish those siren throats
  Would go and sing no more.

An ear can break a human heart
  As quickly as a spear,
We wish the ear had not a heart
  So dangerously near.

My friend, Gary Joe, sent me this email:
“I heard this beautiful song for the first time today.

“Title is from Emily Dickinson’s poem “the saddest noise, the sweetest noise”.  It begins the story of the Lost birds in spring; the season of birth and renewal, and a time of the year when bird songs flood the skies. But what is ordinarily a joyous sound is now riddled with sorrow, as the songs of the remaining birds remind us of the ones we’ve already lost.

“Christopher Tin is the composer. He is a 46-year-old Chinese resident of Redwood City. 

“VOCES8 is an a capella octet from English, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.”

Click here for Youtube video of the poem set to music.

Here is the composer’s official website.

Click here for Voices8 website.

Click here for touching statement from composer about his elegy to the lost bird species.

The album of Tin’s Lost Birds composition was completed in 2022 amd is now for sale.


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