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Golijov, Osvaldo: Drag Down the Sky 20'
for baritone and string quartet

Music Text

Conor McPherson and Book of Job (Chapter 3)

Abbreviations (PDF)


This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.

World Premiere

Dock Street Theatre, Charleston, SC
Tyler Duncan, baritone / St Lawrence String Quartet

Composer's Notes

The situation: The Greek armies are assembled at Aulis, ready to sail to Troy, but for a month there has been no wind to push their sails. The oracle tells Agamemnon that Artemis, the Goddess of the place, has decreed that the wind will only come if he sacrifices his daughter Iphigenia. Agamemnon agrees to the sacrifice and then realizes the consequences of his decision.


By Connor McPherson, with excerpts from the Book of Job

Drag Down the Sky!
Bury the Stars!
Let No Light
Fall Upon Me!
Where once a sweet breeze
Swept the open room
Of my life,
Look at me now!
Look how I sit, alone
In a crowded cave.

Once I flew between seasons
Now nothing moves
Now nothing changes.
Only a ghost wind
Passing by me,
Making the hair of my flesh

The self of today
Leaves a mess
For tomorrow
yet both are me.

I'll ruin our lives
To save us all
And every day
And every night
I'll pay.

And that is as nothing
To all of the nights
In an empty world.
A landscape of embers
With unbidden dreams.

Why is light given
Into the bitter in Soul?

Why is light given
To a man
Whose way is hidden?

Why didn't I
Die in the womb?

For now
I would lie still
With the kings of the Earth
Who built desolate palaces
For themselves.

There the wicked
Cease from troubling,
There the weary
Are at rest.
There the prisoners
Sleep together.

I long for Death
And it comes not
My sighing comes
Before I eat
My roarings pour out
Like the waters
The thing I feared
Came upon me!

Who gave me
The mask of a king?

Who gave me
The trappings of man,
That I stand
before other men?

Whose laughter
In this still sea
Whose depths
I dread behold?

The sun
Barely touches
The far shore of his dream.

Goddess, Goddess,
Mother of Night,
My mind sees
The air collapsing.

Goddess, Goddess,
Reach down
As far as my brow,
For I'm a child.

Craddle me
In the crook of your arm,
Against your breast
And breathing.

For I am Nothing.

I am not a King
I am not a Man
Not even a Child


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