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Blaze of the Rose Tree

for tenor, flute, viola and harp

Composition Date: 2011

Duration: 15'

Instrumentation: T, Fl, Vla, Hp



Commissioned on the 20th July 2009 by Stephan Nawrocki, for Alison Nicholls.

Programme Note:


for tenor, flute, viola and harp

Sally Beamish


Commissioned on the 20th July 2009 by Stephan Nawrocki, for Alison Nicholls


1. Blaze of the Rose-Tree

2. Metaphysics

3. Love Haiku

4. I Love You in this Way

1. Blaze of the Rose-Tree

(Love Sonnet LXIX)

Pablo Neruda /trans.Stephen Tapscott

Perhaps not to be is to be without your being,

without your going, that cuts noon light

like a blue flower, without your passing

later through fog and stones,

without the torch you lift in your hand

that others may not see as golden,

that perhaps no one believed blossomed

the glowing origin of the rose,

without, in the end, your being, your coming

suddenly, inspiringly, to know my life,

blaze of the rose-tree, wheat of the breeze:

and it follows that I am, because you are:

it follows from ‘you are’, that I am, and we:

and, because of love, you will, I will,

We will, come to be.

2. Metaphysics

Tessa Ransford

This birth is a planetary affair

since nothing worldly is a fraction worth

this present incarnation upon earth

and into our safe-keeping now and here.

His mother, weakened by her valiant strength

in labour, now shall never lose or lack

the love he needs; his cries, his very breath

of steady life her food, as she gives suck.

Weak is with strong alternately translated

from love to love in love by love created.

3. Love Haiku

Sally Beamish

the ordinariness

of waking next to you

this is love

watching you

calm in the clamour of the new day

my heart quickens

this happiness

you, stirring soup

sun in your hair

everyday gesture

that turn of your hand

overwhelms me

tilt of your face

our child at your breast

drowsy with love

your breathing

soft, familiar


holding you

silk of your hair

your heart next to mine

4. I Love You In This Way

(Love Sonnet XVII)

Pablo Neruda/trans.Stephen Tapscott

I don't love you as if you were the salt-rose, topaz

or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:

I love you as certain dark things are loved,

secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that doesn't bloom and carries

hidden within itself the light of those flowers,

and thanks to your love, darkly in my body

lives the dense fragrance that rises from the earth.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,

I love you simply, without problems or pride:

I love you in this way because I don't know any other way of


but this, in which there is no I or you,

so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand,

so intimate that when I fall asleep it is your eyes that close.



Available Recordings:

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