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“House Oratorio” is the fifth song in Songs from a Quaker Heart, commissioned and premiered by the Arlington-Belmont Chamber Chorus in 2016.
Marian’s “Christmas Oratorio” is just plain fun. The appliances are glad the holidays are over and the guests are gone, and they’ve got the house back for themselves. Singing appliances simply needed to be set to music. Each appliance gets a particular melody, layered in an ever-changing texture. Are they talking to each other, or just the soundscape of a house?
I chose the poem “Christmas Oratorio” from Marian Shapiro’s personal manuscripts. I renamed the music “House Oratorio”, because there’s no reason to restrict it to holiday programming.
by Marian Kaplun Shapiro
No one home
It’s our time at last, sings Refrigerator,
a baritone. Clock adds her gentle castanet.
Light Bulb takes up his drone. Mischievous
Wind picks up her flute. A playful trill, while
Raindrop taps its metronome on the patio.
Oil burner growls its deep ground bass.
Computer enters on middle C, delivering an email.
iphone echoes him an octave higher.
Wait! Is that a child calling from the sidewalk?
(Copyright Marian Kaplun Shapiro. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.)
The Arlington-Belmont Chamber Chorus, directed by Barry Singer, sings this May 2017 performance.