by Scott Howard Eggert

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Memoria: A Cantata for the Centenary of the Armistice. Composer Scott Howard Eggert was commissioned to compose a work during the 2019 Centennial remembrance of World War I. It was performed at Lebanon Valley College and The Pennsylvania State University.


releases November 7, 2019

Composed by Scott Howard Eggert. Performed by The Pennsylvania State University Concert Choir and Chamber Ensemble. Conducted by Christopher Kiver


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VALE Records Annville, Pennsylvania

VALE is a non-profit student run LLC housed at Lebanon Valley College.

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Track Name: PROLOGUE: August 1914
From, August, 1914 – John Masefield

How still this quiet cornfield is tonight!
By an intenser glow, the evening falls,
Bringing, not darkness, but a deeper light;
Among the stooks a partridge covey calls.

The windows glitter on the distant hill;
Beyond the hedge the sheep-bells in the fold
Stumble on sudden music and are still;
The forlorn pinewoods droop above the wold.

An endless quiet valley reaches out
Past the blue hills into the evening sky;
Over the stubble, cawing, goes a rout
Of rooks from harvest, flagging as they fly.

So beautiful it is, I never saw
So great a beauty on these English fields
Touched by the twilight’s coming into awe,
Ripe to the soul and rich with summer’s yields.
Track Name: RAGTIME-MARCH: All the Hills and Vales Along
II. RAGTIME-MARCH: All the hills and vales along

All the hills and vales along – Charles Hamilton Sorley

All the hills and vales along
Earth is bursting into song,
And the singers are the chaps
Who are going to die perhaps.
O sing, marching men,
Till the valleys ring again.
Give your gladness to earth’s keeping,
So be glad, when you are sleeping.

Cast away regret and rue,
Think of what you are marching to.
Little live, great pass.
Jesus Christ and Barabbas
Were found the same day.
This died, that went on his way.
So sing with joyful breath,
For why, you are going to death.
Teeming earth will surely store
All the gladness that you pour.

Earth that never doubts nor fears,
Earth that knows of death, not tears,
Earth that bore with joyful ease
Hemlock for Socrates,
Earth that blossomed and was glad
‘Neath the cross that Christ had,
Shall rejoice and blossom too
When the bullet reaches you.
Wherefore, men marching
On the road to death, sing!
Pour gladness on earth’s head,
So be merry, so be dead.

From the hills and valleys earth
Shouts back the sound of mirth,
Tramp of feet and lilt of song
Ringing all the road along.
All the music of their going,
Ringing swinging glad song-throwing,
Earth will echo still, when foot
Lies numb and voice mute.
On, marching men, on
To the gates of death with song.
Sow your gladness for earth’s reaping,
So you may be glad, though sleeping.
Strew your gladness on earth’s bed,
So be merry, so be dead.
Track Name: MOTET: At the Front
From, Before the Charge – Patrick MacGill

The night is still and the air is keen,
Tense with menace the time crawls by….

The dead leaves float in the sighing air,
The darkness moves like a curtain drawn,
A veil which the morning sun will tear
From the face of death.

From, Counter-Attack – Siegfried Sassoon

A yawning soldier knelt against the bank,
Staring across the morning blear with fog;
He wondered when the Allemands would get busy;
And then, of course, they started…

Mute in the clamour of shells he watched them burst
Spouting dark earth and wire with gusts from hell,
While posturing giants dissolved in drifts of smoke.
He crouched and flinched, dizzy with galloping fear,
Sick for escape, - loathing the strangled horror
And butchered, frantic gestures of the dead.

An officer came blundering down the trench:
‘Stand-to and man the fire-step!’ On he went…
Gasping and bawling, ‘Fire-step…counter-attack!’
Then the haze lifted. Bombing on the right
Down the old sap: machine-guns on the left;
And stumbling figures looming out in front.
‘O Christ, they’re coming at us!’ Bullets spat,
And he remembered his rifle…rapid fire…
And started blazing wildly…then a bang
Crumpled and spun him sideways, knocked him out
To grunt and wriggle: none heeded him; he choked
And fought the flapping veils of smothering gloom,
Lost in a blurred confusion of yells and groans…
Down, and down, and down, he sank and drowned,
Bleeding to death.

From, Dead Man’s Dump – Isaac Rosenberg

The air is loud with death,
The dark air spurts with fire,
The explosions ceaseless are.
Timelessly now, some minutes past,
These dead strode time with vigorous life,
Till shrapnel called ‘An end!’

A man’s brains splattered on
A stretcher-bearer’s face;
His shook shoulders slipped their load,
But when they bent to look again
The drowning soul was sunk too deep for human tenderness.
They left this dead with the older dead,
Stretched at the crossroads.

Burnt black by strange decay
Their sinister faces lie,
The lid over each eye;
Joined to the great sunk silences.

From, On Somme – Ivor Gurney

Suddenly into the still air burst thudding
And thudding, and cold fear possessed me all,…

From, Dulce et Decorum est – Wilfred Owen

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys! – An ecstacy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime. –

In all my dreams before my helpless sight
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin,
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs
Bitten as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, -
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.
Track Name: CHORALE: In Flanders Fields
In Flanders Fields – John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Track Name: MOTET: The Great Litany
1914: The Dead – Rupert Brooke

These hearts were woven of human joys and cares,
Washed marvelously with sorrow, swift to mirth.
The years had given them kindness. Dawn was theirs,
And sunset, and the colours of the earth.
These had seen movement, and heard music; known
Slumber and waking; loved; gone proudly friended;
Felt the quick stir of wonder; sat alone;
Touched flowers and furs and cheeks. All this is ended.

There are waters blown by changing winds to laughter
And lit by the rich skies, all day. And after,
Frost, with a gesture, stays the waves that dance
And wandering loveliness. He leaves a white
Unbroken glory, a gathered radiance,
A width, a shining peace, under the night.

In Flanders Fields - John McCrae

(Verse 1, as above.)

A List of “Great War” Battles and Campaigns, with Casualty Numbers

1 - The Battle of Tannenberg:
One hundred and eighty thousand lost.

2 - The First Battle of the Marne:
Five hundred and thirteen thousand lost.
3 - The Gallipoli Campaign:
Five hundred and fifty-two thousand lost.

4 - The Battles of Artois and Champagne:
Six hundred and twenty-six thousand lost.

5 - The Serbian Campaign:
[Six hundred and thirty-three thousand lost.]

6 - The Battle of Verdun:
Nine hundred and seventy thousand lost.

7 - The Battles of Ypres (Passchendaele):
One million lost.

8 - The Battle of the Somme:
One million two hundred thousand lost.

9 - The Brusilov Offensive:
One million four hundred fifty thousand lost.

10 - The Spring Offensive:
[One million five hundred forty thousand lost.]

11 - The Hundred Days Offensive:
One million eight hundred fifty thousand lost
Track Name: MOTET: Armistice Day
The first eleven articles of the Armistice document (clauses relating to the Western Front), in summary:

1 – Cessation of operations by land and in the air.
2 – Immediate evacuation of invaded countries
3 – Repatriation beginning at once.
4 – Surrender in good condition of war materials.
5 – Immediate evacuation of the Rhinelands.
6 – No harm or destruction in evacuated territories.
7 – All means of communication shall not be impaired.
8 – Immediate revelation of all mines and fuses.
9 – The right of requisition by the allies.
10 – Immediate repatriation of prisoners of war.
11 - The sick and the wounded shall be cared for.

Everyone Sang – Siegfried Sassoon

Everyone suddenly burst out singing;
And I was filled with such delight
As prisoned birds must find in freedom,
Winging wildly across the white
Orchards and dark-green fields; on – on – and out of sight.

Everyone’s voice was suddenly lifted;
And beauty came like the setting sun:
My heart was shaken with tears; and horror
Drifted away…O, but Everyone
Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.

November 11th – Robert Graves

Why are they cheering and shouting
What’s all the scurry of feet
With little boys banging on kettle and can
Wild laughter of girls in the street?

O those are the froth of the city
The thoughtless and ignorant scum
Who hang out the bunting when war is let loose
And for victory bang on a drum

But the boys who were killed in the battle
Who fought with no rage and no rant
Are peacefully sleeping on pallets of mud
Low down with the worm and the ant

Carcanet Press Limited from Complete Poems by Robert Graves,
ed. Beryl Graves and Dunstan Ward, 2000
Track Name: INTERLUDE: And There Was a Great Calm
From, And There Was a Great Calm – Thomas Hardy

There had been years of Passion – scorching, cold,
And much despair, and Anger heaving high,
Care whitely watching, Sorrows manifold,
Among the young, among the weak and old,
And the pensive Spirit of Pity whispered, “Why?”

Calm fell. From heaven distilled a clemency;
There was peace on earth, and silence in the sky;
Some could, some could not, shake off misery:
The Sinister Spirit sneered: “It had to be!”
And again the Spirit of Pity whispered, “Why?”

VIII. CHORALE: For the Fallen

From, For the Fallen – Laurence Binyon

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.
Track Name: CHORALE: For the Fallen
From, For the Fallen – Laurence Binyon

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.
Track Name: MOTET: Memoria
If ye Forget – G. A. Studdert Kennedy

Let me forget – Let me forget,
I am weary of remembrance,
And my brow is ever wet,
With the tears of my remembrance,
With the tears and bloody sweat,
Let me forget.

If ye forget – If ye forget,
Then your children must remember,
And their brow be ever wet,
With the tears of their remembrance,
With the tears and bloody sweat,
If ye forget.

Aftermath – Siegfried Sassoon

Have you forgotten yet?...
For the world’s events have rumbled on since those gagged days,
Like traffic checked while at the crossing of city-ways:
And the haunted gap in your mind has filled with thoughts that flow
Like clouds in the lit heaven of life; and you’re a man reprieved to go,
Taking your peaceful share of Time, with joy to spare.
But the past is just the same – and War’s a bloody game…
Have you forgotten yet?...
Look down, and swear by the slain of the War that you’ll never forget.

Do you remember the dark months you held the sector at Mametz –
The nights you watched and wired and dug and piled sandbags on parapets?
Do you remember the rats; and the stench
Of corpses rotting in front of the front-line trench –
And dawn coming, dirty-white, and chill with a hopeless rain?
Do you ever stop and ask, ‘Is it all going to happen again?’

Do you remember that hour of din before the attack –
And the anger, the blind compassion that seized and shook you then
As you peered at the doomed and haggard faces of your men?
Do you remember the stretcher-cases lurching back
With dying eyes and lolling heads – those ashen grey
Masks of the lads who once were keen and kind and gay?

Have you forgotten yet?...
Look up, and swear by the green of the spring that you’ll never forget.

For the Fallen – Laurence Binyon

(Verse one, as above.)

‘Can You Remember?’ – Edmund Blunden

Yes, I still remember
The whole thing in a way;
Edge and exactitude
Depend on the day.

Of all that prodigious scene
There seems but scanty loss,
Though mists mainly float and screen
Canal, spire and fosse;

Though commonly I fail to name
That once obvious Hill,
And where we went and whence we came
To be killed, or kill.

Those mists are spiritual
And luminous-obscure,
Evolved of countless circumstance
Of which I am sure;

Of which, at the instance
Of sound, smell, change and stir,
New-old shapes for ever
Intensely recur.

And some are sparkling, laughing, singing,
Young, heroic, mild;
And some incurable, twisted,
Shrieking, dumb, defiled.

Carcanet Press Limited from Selected Poems by Edmund Blunden,
ed. Robyn Marsack, 1982, and David Higham Associates, on behalf
of the Edmund Blunden Estate.
Track Name: THERNODY: Grass
Grass – Carl Sandburg

Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.
Shovel them under and let me work –
I am the grass; I cover all.

And pile them high at Gettysburg
And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.
Shovel them under and let me work.
Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor:
What place is this?
Where are we now?

I am the grass.
Let me work.
Track Name: MOTET: And Death Shall Have No Dominion
From, And Death Shall Have No Dominion – Dylan Thomas

And death shall have no dominion.
Dead men naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

A selection of excerpts from WWI letters to and from the front:

1 - Corporal Alfred Chater to Joyce Francis:
“Darling Joy, I must write you one more line dearest to say goodbye before we go, as god knows when I shall see you again.”

2 - Gunner William Munton to Nellie Munton:
“I want you to know that I am always thinking about you, ay, dreaming about you and longing to be back with you again. God hasten the end of the war and shorten these days of suffering and pain.”

3 - Mary Corfield to Captain Frederick Corfield:
“Goodnight you Darling Thing. I shall feel better after a good old howl when I get to bed tonight and hope to continue more cheerfully tomorrow. Your devoted and very sad, Missus.”

4 - Kate Gordon to one of her three sons serving in the war:
“I keep thinking what a different world it will be to mothers; when you all come marching home again! And when you do come marching home, bring me back the same boy I gave my country, - true, and clean, and gentle, and brave.”

(Gordon lost two of her sons to the conflict.)

5 - Lt. Robert F. Mitchell to Winifred Bostwick:
“The war news continues to be the best ever. These are stirring times and regardless of my personal outcome I’m glad to be part of it.”

(Mitchell was killed nine days later.)

6 - Gunner Frank Bracey to Win:
“Dearest Win, I am writing just a line, Win, in case of accidents. Just to let you know how I have always loved you Dear. But I have a feeling that I shall not come back again.”

(Bracey was killed three months later.)

7 - 2nd Lt. Francis M. Tracy to his wife, Gertrude:
“My girl, my girl, how I do miss you. I didn’t think it possible for one to be possessed of the longing I have for you.”

(Tracy was killed seven days later.)

8 - Amy Handley to Pvt. John Clifton (Jack):
“Jack – my own – my only love – how I look for your next letter – How much longer shall I have to wait? My heart – Surely it will burst – Jack – Jack – I want you – I live for you – always, always my own.”

(Clifton was killed less than a month later.)

9 - Pvt. Walter Bromwich to his pastor:
“Dear Reverend: Does God really love us individually or does He love His purpose more?”

10 - Nurse Maude B. Fisher to the Mother of a soldier:
“My dear Mrs. Hogan: Your son was laid to rest in the little cemetery of Commercy. His grave is number 22, plot 1. His aluminum identification tag is around his neck, bearing his serial number, 2793346.”

11 - German prisoner Rudolf Sauter to his English sweetheart:
“All, all my love! That is near and about you wherever you are. Love knows no distance, time is ours and Beauty finds no breaking shore…”

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