Denver’s premier choral ensemble Kantorei, under the direction of Joel Rinsema, has commissioned Hagen to write a piece for their final concerts this season.
Contemporary women composers hold the spotlight in these concerts dubbed “Vox Femina” (the female voice). Hagen is honored to be featured alongside the works of celebrated composers Ysaye Barnwell, Jennifer Higdon, Cecilia McDowall, Meredith Monk, and Sarah Quartel.
Hagen has chosen the following text “Give Joan a Sword,” by Sister M. Thérèse, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the canonization of Joan of Arc on May 16, 2020.
Concert and ticket information here: https://kantorei.org/concerts/voxfemina/
Give Joan a Sword
The night down on Domrémy,
Dark wings have circled every tree,
Shut out the stars and steeped the sky
In anguish lifted like a cry.
Shaking the young stars from her gown,
Pushing the moon back, Joan peers down
On lands by terror twisted bare
That shake with battle everywhere.
A blight is on the world again;
A blight is in the souls of men;
And dark is death and dark is birth
As sorry runs along the earth.
How can she keep her soul in calm
When towers of Rheims and Notre Dame
Send up their cry of muted bells
That tear her heart with moans and knells?
How must her hands have ached to hold
Her shining sword when pain patrolled
The glory-riddled crimson shore
Of Bataan, and Corregidor.
How must her lips have burned to cry
A challenge to the southern sky
For heroes who would never see
The sunset stain the Coral Sea.
Young Joan is restless in the sky;
Young Joan is burning to defy
The sign that sickens men with pride;
Back to the wars young Joan would ride!
To rout this bitter pagan horde,
O God of peace, give Joan a sword!
And in this moment send her down
To Domrémy, to every town!
~ Sister M. Thérèse