Silhouette 02:12

Liner Notes

Bernstein wrote this piece in honor of the forty-first birthday of his friend mezzo-soprano Jennie Tourel. The song incorporates an old Lebanese folksong, the Arabic words of which are paraphrased in the lyrics: “The boys in the dark olive groves assemble.” Bernstein can be heard singing this tune in the 1967 film Journey to Jerusalem.

By: Jack Gottlieb



Sung in English
Text by Leonard Bernstein, after a Lebanese folksong

A last little bird on a palm feather riding,
Black and clean in the afterglow.
A lone little girl in the olive grove hiding,
Crooning soft as the sun sinks low: oo, oo,
Hu! ‘rrfah!

An old little jeep through the mountains crawling,
Tough and tiny against the sun,
A young Arab shepherd upon his knees falling,
Allah, Allah, the day is done, ee,ee, ee,
Hee! ‘rrfah!

The boys in the dark olive groves assemble,
Hand in hand in a dancing ring,
Their eyes to the sun, and their lips atremble,
Drunk with love and the chant they sing:
Walad ela ‘Una, Norkod taht el zetuna!
Ah! Ha! ‘rrfah



Composer: Leonard Bernstein

Length: 02:12
Genre: Art Song

Performers: Angelina Réaux, Mezzo-soprano;  Barry Snyder, Piano

Date Recorded: 05/01/1993
Venue: Kilbourn Hall/Eastman School of Music (A), University of Rochester, New York
Engineer: Dusman, David
Assistant Engineer: Isaacson, Michael

Additional Credits:

Publisher: Universal Polygram International Publishing

Premiere: February 13, 1955, Washington, D.C.
Katherine Hanse, soprano; Evelyn Swarthout, piano


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