At That Hour When All Things Have Repose
In my setting of James Joyce's At That Hour When All Things Have Repose, a soft, rubato melody rises above the opening bass octave. The emphasis on the monosyllables establishes the text’s iambic rhythm. But the effect is a slowing of the tempo, thus achieving the “repose” intimated in the first line. “Play on, invisible harps, unto love” is emphasized by corresponding arpeggios in the piano, mimicking a harp. After a dramatic sweep, the vocal line descends back to a condition of repose.
It is available for high voice (soprano or tenor) and medium voice (mezzo-soprano or baritone). It is also part of my collection of ten art songs on poems by James Joyce that I wrote during the winter and spring of 2019:
At that hour when all things have repose,
O lonely watcher of the skies,
Do you hear the night wind and the sighs
Of harps playing unto Love to unclose
The pale gates of sunrise?
When all things repose do you alone
Awake to hear the sweet harps play
To Love before him on his way,
And the night wind answering to antiphon
Till night is overgone?
Play on, invisible harps, unto Love,
Whose way in heaven is aglow
At that hour when soft lights come and go,
Soft sweet music in the air above
And in the earth below.
James Joyce, 1882 - 1941