LIBRETTO

MAGNIFICAT BY MICHAEL KURTH, 2016

Libretto Excerpt by Jesse Breite

And now, my breath breaks on the name of God,

to seek, find, redefine the broken time.

I delight the loam, the long, cold-cracked road,

where I am ever-born and tendril-sweet.

Recall my life, old ringed world, 

my blood-red Lord bright in these limbs 

and flourishing still.

Libretto Excerpt by Jesse Breite

Movement V., starting at 15:35

I stood alien at the crossroad,

unjarred my mouth, 

held forth my hand, but none knew my name.

How I grew weak, touch-broke and needful

under the hurt-tree. 

My eyes raked the pavement for scraps

and swallowed.

My bones unbuckled and leaked.

My heart bled vinegar. 

None read the sacred verse of my skin.

None unsaddled my sorrowful limbs.     

MISERERE BY MICHAEL KURTH, 2018

Libretto by Jesse Breite

V.

You must first look past 

the little corpses, the useless limbs,

the clown-faced fools 

who wear your name, the calcified 

pressures of shame. 

You must stage the terrible romance

over your eyes, cut out 

the tongues of the poor, 

unsee widows, orphans 

dropping coin into kettles.

Stuff the shorn heads with silver—

silver tongues, silver eyes,

silver-sweet hellos and goodbyes. 

Reach your hand in, brush against God-flesh.

Tear the freshly broken bread.

How can you account 

the cost, looking back before you scry?

How can you doubt

your own satisfactions when the sun

drops like a circular

saw into the earth’s tired face—

its keen blades searing the great rolling eye?


VII.

Gimme the broke skin, 

metal thorned wrist and foot,

blood volcanic wound-core—

its purple tongue-swell,

the hurt curtains draping 

the face with sweat and gore

Gimme the flesh filleted by cheers,

the wood turnt on the horizon,

the cut wet stuck to these fingers,

the ooze of adoration lost,  

the shame-murmuring shadows,

the heartless fist of angels,

body wretched of all feeling

Gimme the sinister air, 

the voice emptied of its

gravelly depths, the buzzed-

grass burnt hill, 

the prickled skull spotted red 

and achey with lack

 

MISERERE, TRACKS 9 - 16

Movements V. and VII.

 

ATLANTA COMPOSER MICHAEL KURTH

 

ATLANTA SYMPHONY'S NEWEST ALBUM FEATURES 'SACRED, SPOOKY' MUSIC

GPB's Sarah Zaslaw speaks with Michael Kurth