I wonder if I’ll ever get to see them in this lifetime. I certainly hope so, but life is so short ….

Eriks Esenvalds: Northern Lights
Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble: Dr. Donal Nally, Conductor

Filmed December 2, 2013
Pick-Staiger Concert Hall at Northwestern University
Evanston, IL

Davee Distance Learning Initiative
Video Director: Richard Van Kleeck

Tenor: Ryan Townsend Strand

Cik naksninas pret ziemeli
Redzej’ kavus karojam;
Karo kavi pie debesu,
Vedis karus mus’ zeme.

(How many nights against the North wind
I saw the Northern Lights fighting;
Fighting in the sky, the Northern Lights
Bring wars to our land.)

It was night, and I had gone on deck several times.
Iceberg was silent; I too was silent.
It was true dark and cold.
At nine o’clock I was below in my cabin,
When the captain hailed me with the words:
“Come above, Hall, at once! The world is on fire!”
I knew his meaning, and, quick as thought,
I rushed to the companion stairs.
In a moment I reached the deck,
And as the cabin door swung open,
A dazzling light, overpow’ring light burst upon my startled senses!
Oh, the whole sky was one glowing mass of colored flames, so mighty, so brave!
Like a pathway of light the northern lights seemed to draw us into the sky.
Yes, it was harp-music, wild storming in the darkness;
The strings trembled and sparkled in the glow of the flames
Like a shower of fiery darts.
A fiery crown of auroral light cast a warm glow across the arctic ice.
Again at times it was like softly playing, gently rocking silvery waves,
On which dreams travel into unknown worlds.

Text: Latvian folksong, Charles Francis Hall, Fridtjof Nansen

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