PASSENDALE – from Crimson (the cantata)

by Larry Nickel

featuring the Halifax Camerata directed by Jeff Joudrey

LYRICS

A raw recruit was I 
fresh off the farm from southern Manitoba.
My story begins and ends here, in Passendale.

Winter came early to the trenches,
like two black snakes writhing through the snow.
Side by side and not too far apart,
two armies face each other;
ankle deep in mud and misery –
with no man’s land in-between.

No man’s land – where green fields used to flourish.
No man’s land – charcoal trees, broken fences.
No man’s land – crimson red over white snow.
No man’s land – such unspeakable carnage.
No man’s land.

The Angel of Death – The Angel of Death, a frequent visitor here.
The Angel of Death – heralded with groans and screams of agony.

My enemy; afraid and bewildered, just like me.

A raw recruit was he – (my enemy)
fresh off the farm
from southern Bavaria. – (my enemy)
His story begins and ends here, in Passendale.

We gaze at each other through the hellish haze;
too numb to feel
too remote to hate
We stare at each other – total strangers –
and breathe warm air on our trigger-fingers.

text – Larry Smeets (adapted)

VIEW SCORE

SATB SCORE (PDF)

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listen to the entire cantata here (Crimson Stain)

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General Inquiries:
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Dr. Larry Nickel (Editor):
larrynickel@mac.com