Un Canadien errant

Conductor Notes:

conductors looking for superior repertoire for children’s or women’s voices will find something for their ensemble in the many compositions and arrangements of Ontario’s Mark Sirett. This arrangement for SSAA and piano presents all five verses in unique settings, so as tempted as I was to shorten by taking out a verse, I didn’t. I performed the first verse in a slow, rubato style, telling the singers they should sound like they were inventing the melody. As soon as we made the transition to verse 2, I took the tempo a notch faster than the recommendation, to make sure the piece moved forward through the other four verses. As long as a storytelling tone is maintained, I feel this still suits the reflective and sombre mood of the story.

References:

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Text:

Un Canadien errant, Banni des ses foyers, Parcourait en pleurant Des pays etrangers. Un jour, triste et pensif, Assis au bord des flots, Au courant fugitif Il adressa ces mots: “Si tu vois mon pays, Mon pays malheureux, Va dire a mes amis Que je me souviens d’eux. O jours si pleins d’appas, Vous êtes disparus… Et ma patrie, helas! Je ne la verrai plus! Non, mais en expirant, O mon cher Canada! Mon regard languissant vers toi se portera.

Translation:

Once a Canadian lad, Exiled from hearth and home, Wandered, alone and sad, Through alien lands unknown. Down by a rushing stream, Thoughtful and sad one day He watched the water pass And to it he did say: “If you should reach my land, My most unhappy land, Please speak to all my friends So they will understand. Tell them how much I wish That I could be once more In my beloved land That I will see no more. “My own beloved land I’ll not forget till death, And I will speak of her With my last dying breath.