The Music of Elizabeth Alexander

Create a Song Once More

St Cecilia invites King David to imagine a restorative path beyond guilt and shame

Words by Elizabeth Alexander

Create a Song Once More takes its inspiration from Raphael’s “Altarpiece of St. Cecilia,” in which the patron saint of music encourages King David to play his harp again despite his shameful past transgressions.

With poetic imagery from the psalms and a message of unconditional forgiveness, this song’s proud, defiant opening gives way to a slate wiped clean and a peaceful mind, offering reconciliation to all.

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Create a Song Once More
(St. Cecilia speaks to King David)

When young and proud, you praised a God of wrath,
And called on Him to grind beneath His heel
The bones of all who wandered from His path.
How tall you stood! But now, my friend, you kneel,
A golden boy no longer. Your hands are stained
With blood, and in despair they cling to pain
While your sweet harp lies banished on the ground.
Where is your voice? This silence can’t restore
The past, and only grief that’s given sound
Is heard and healed. Create a song once more
Of streams which clap their hands to greet each day,
And hills and trees which praise the heavens vast.
Take up your harp, my shepherd king, to play
And sing again, and find some peace at last.

Elizabeth Alexander
© 2003 by Elizabeth Alexander

Performers

Performers

Premiere: Elmer Iseler Singers / Jennifer Haywood (Toronto, Ontario CANADA)
Spiritus Chamber Choir / Janet Youngdahl (Calgary, Alberta CANADA)