Four Anthems for Four Seasons

Program note: Four Anthems for Four Seasons. Music by James Rolfe, to texts from The Bible. Durations: Spring 3’30”; Summer 1’30”; Fall 2’15”; Winter 2’45.

Four Anthems for Four Seasons was commissioned by the Elora Festival, Noel Edison, artistic director, with the assistance of The Laidlaw Foundation. It was premiered on 3 August 2003, at St. Mary’s Church, Elora, Ontario.





SUMMER:  Proverbs 6:6-11


6 Go to the ant, you sluggard!

Consider her ways and be wise,

7 Which, having no captain,

Overseer or ruler,

8 Stores her provisions in the summer,

And gathers her food at harvest.

9 How long will you slumber, O sluggard?

When will you rise from your sleep?

10 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber,

A little folding of the hands to sleep–

11 So shall poverty come on you like a bandit,

And your need like an armed man.


FALL:  Deut 24:19-22


When you reap your harvest in your field, and forget a sheaf, you shall not go back

to fetch it; it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.

20 When you beat your olive trees, you shall not go over the boughs again; it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow.

21 When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not glean it afterward; it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow.

22 And you shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I command you to do this thing.


SPRING:  Song of Solomon, 2:10-13


10    My beloved spoke, and said to me:

“Rise up, my love, my fair one,

And come away.

11    Behold, the winter is past,

The rain is over and gone.

12    Flowers appear on earth;

The time of singing has come,

And the voice of the dove

Is heard in our land.

13    The fig tree puts forth her green figs,

And the vines with the tender grapes

Give forth their fragrance.

Rise up, my love, my fair one,

And come away!


WINTER:  Job 38:22, 29, 30


Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow?

Out of whose womb came the ice? And the hoary frost of the heaven, who hath

gendered it?

The waters are hid as with a stone, and the face of the deep is frozen.


And Psalm 147:16,17


16 He giveth snow like wool:  he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes.

17 He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold?