Listen to excerpts from the Navona Records release There Are Many Other Legends (track 14), performed by the New Hampshire Master Chorale (Dan Perkins, conductor), with soprano saxophone soloist Rik Pfenninger.
Love Always was commissioned and premiered by the New Hampshire Master Chorale (Dan Perkins, Music Director). When Dan and I discussed potential works for the Master Chorale's concerts centered on France, our ideas began to coalesce around two distinct compositions for it—one involving some straight-ahead jazz (see Waltzes About France), and one in a more standard vein. I knew that the Master Chorale would be joined by a quartet featuring a saxophonist (an instrument born in France), so I began thinking about a “non-jazz” work for chorus and soprano saxophone, featuring a translated French text. Several sources pointed me to Victor Hugo’s powerful poem “Aimons toujours! Aimons encore!”—I fell in love with the text, and ultimately (and perhaps foolhardily!) made my own free translation of it for the piece, entitled Love Always! after the first words of Hugo’s text.
Love always! Love still!
What the tide says to the shore,
Let us always love more,
We are the mirror and the reflection!
Come to me!
Ambition, subtle inferno
Fleeting pleasure, barely-budded flower
Love alone remains!
Even though you cry and suffer,
I would gladly trade the riches
—freely translated from Victor Hugo, “Aimons toujours! Aimons encore!” <(Les Contemplations, 1856)