I shall light a candle

Music: Trad. Bengali arr. Sheena Phillips, Words: Trad. Bengali and 2 Esdras 14

Voicing: SSAA

Performance time approx: 3m 00s

Range S1: b♭ – g'' / S2: b♭ – e'' / A1: g – b' / A2: f – g'

Price code: D


This piece interweaves two texts, one from a Bengali song about the uncertainty of life, the other, from 2 Esdras 14v25, offering a ‘candle of understanding’. The Bengali song first appears as a duet between Soprano 2 and Alto 1 voices. Alto 2s then introduce the Apocryphal text and a new melody, against a flickering chordal background representing the light of a candle. In the last third of the piece, the two melodies and texts are combined. It’s effective to add a light percussion accompaniment (e.g. tambourine on the three main beats of each bar, and light drum taps on each eighth note – as in the synthesised realization).

Also available for SATB voices.

The performance is by Rudsambee company of singers singing an earlier version of the SATB voicing.

I shall light a candle of understanding in thine heart, which shall not be put out.
From the Apocrypha: 2 Esdras 14, v.25

Jahoori jahoor re chenei, katooriai kaat,
Rakhalia krishak a chenei fasholeri maat,
Sharno karei shona chenei kashurura kasha,
shati nari janei shudhu patir bhalobasha,
Aami konu kisu chinlam narei,
kulkinara pailam na pabashastra bujhlam na.
Traditional Bengali song

[ Jewelers, they know their jewels, woodcutters know their wood,
Farmers know their field of barley and their field of corn,
Goldsmiths know their golden bracelets, silversmiths their silver,
But I have little understanding,
I don't know which way to go, I don't know the way of life.
My only guide is love. ]

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I shall light a candle

Sheena Phillips


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