Beyond (Peter Bird)

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  • (Posted 2023-08-06)  CPDL #74768:         
Editor: Peter Bird (submitted 2023-08-06).   Score information: Letter, 34 pages, 1.39 MB   Copyright: CC BY SA
Edition notes:

General Information

Title: Beyond
Composer: Peter Bird
Lyricist: Peter Bird, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Ernest E. Cummingscreate page
Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SecularCantata

Language: English
Instruments: oboe and piano.

First published: 2023
Description: A short choral cantata of 3 songs. Accompanied by oboe and piano. These songs, with texts from three different poets, all express a universal human desire for something more; something magical; something beyond this life.

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

1. Further North (Peter Bird, 2022)
The frosty morning air is sharp as wine.
An eagle circles high above the spruce.
The tamarack are golden; green the pines.
A creek somewhere is rushing fast and loose.

It feels like morning in the elder days;
old glaciers fade away, and aspens grow.
The caribou and Dall pass through to graze;
a cabin smokes beyond the river bow.

O further North!

The noisy world will fade away behind,
and leave the aura of eternal things.
A body can grow stronger, and a mind
can harmonize the song the wild bird sings.


At Nordkapp in midsummer, in the gyre,
the midnight sun projects a golden beam
a kittiwake may travel, and a tern.
We cannot leave this rock, but only yearn
to follow over ocean, air, and fire.

2. Wild swans (Edna St. Vincent Millay, 1923)
I looked in my heart while the wild swans went over.
And what did I see I had not seen before?
Only a question less or a question more;
Nothing to match the flight of wild birds flying.
Tiresome heart, forever living and dying,
House without air, I leave you and lock your door.
Wild swans, come over the town, come over
The town again, trailing your legs and crying!

3. Finis (Over silent waters...) (Ernest E. Cummings, 1917)


Over silent waters

day descending

night ascending

floods the gentle glory of the sunset

In a golden greeting

splendidly to westward

as pale twilight





comes the last light's gracious exhortation

Lifting up to peace

so when life shall falter

standing on the shores of the



May I behold my sunset


over silent waters