Works

Our Garden

Cantata

1959 / 2003

Scored for

children's choir (SSA) and orchestra

Duration

10–15 min

Short description

The children’s cantata Our Garden was created in 1959, when Arvo Pärt was still a composition student and worked as a piano accompanist at the theatre club of the Tallinn Palace of the Pioneers. He had already composed children’s songs and music for various children’s plays, however, had not yet written any vocal-symphonic works. Pärt combined these two genres in the cantata Our Garden. The work is dedicated to the choral conductor Heino Kaljuste and the children’s choir Ellerhein. It premiered on 25 December 1959 in the Estonia Concert Hall, performed by Ellerhein and the Estonian Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Roman Matsov.

Our Garden is based on a text by Eno Raud, which talks about the work and doings of children in the school experimenta…

The children’s cantata Our Garden was created in 1959, when Arvo Pärt was still a composition student and worked as a piano accompanist at the theatre club of the Tallinn Palace of the Pioneers. He had already composed children’s songs and music for various children’s plays, however, had not yet written any vocal-symphonic works. Pärt combined these two genres in the cantata Our Garden. The work is dedicated to the choral conductor Heino Kaljuste and the children’s choir Ellerhein. It premiered on 25 December 1959 in the Estonia Concert Hall, performed by Ellerhein and the Estonian Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Roman Matsov.

Our Garden is based on a text by Eno Raud, which talks about the work and doings of children in the school experimental garden and is composed of four parts each with a different mood. The choir part is simple and childlike: clear tonal harmony, brisk rhythm and easy to sing melodies; a special weight, however, is placed on the vivid orchestral part. In this cantata you can feel the humour and pure spontaneous joy typical of Arvo Pärt’s music for children.

Conductor Tõnu Kaljuste has recalled the II Youth Song Festival in 1967, when Our Garden was performed by 10,000 singers in children’s choirs conducted by Heino Kaljuste: “My father was very happy that a young composer, who had to work in the restrictive conditions of the Soviet regime, was able to compose such sincere music for children. Sincerity, which could be called childlike, is also evident in other works by Pärt.”

The attitude towards Pärt’s work was controversial in the early 1960s. Although his experimentation with modernist music was much criticised, Our Garden was awarded the first prize at the Union-wide Young Composers Competition in 1962.

The cantata can be performed in Estonian, as well as in English, translated by Maarja Kangro, and in Russian, translated by T. Sikorsky.

World premiere

25.12.1959
Estonia Concert Hall, Tallinn, Eesti

Symphony concert – Estonian and Armenian young composers

Roman Matsov, Children's Choir of Tallinn Pioneers' Palace , Estonian Radio Symphony Orchestra

Parts

  • I
  • II
  • III
  • IV

Other titles

Meie aed

Completion year

1959

Revision year

2003

Dedication

to Heino Kaljuste and Children's Choir Ellerhein

Scored for

children's choir (SSA) and orchestra

Duration

10–15 min

Publishers

Universal Edition

Language

Estonian, English, Russian

Vocal text

Text author Eno Raud; English translation by Maarja Kangro; russian translation by T. Sikorskaja.

I
Meie kooli katseaias
lapsi ootab töö,
oled porgandi
või marja peale maias, maias,
kaasa meile löö,
kaasa meile löö!
Võta kätte kastekann,
võta kastekann,
võta kätte kastekann või reha,
tööd on teha,
palju teha tööd,
palju teha tööd!

Summ, summ, summ, summ,
summ, summ, summ, summ,
aia nurgas seisab mesipuu.
Summ, summ, summ, summ,
summ, summ, summ, summ,
see on meie kooli mesipuu.

Tubli töömees on küll mesilind,
tubli töömees on küll mesilind,
pole meilgi väiksem hool ja ind!
Meie kooli katseaias
lapsi ootab töö,
oled porgandi
või marja peale maias, maias,
kaasa meile löö,
kaasa meile löö!

Võta kätte kastekann,
võta kastekann,
võta kätte kastek…
Text author Eno Raud; English translation by Maarja Kangro; russian translation by T. Sikorskaja.

I
Meie kooli katseaias
lapsi ootab töö,
oled porgandi
või marja peale maias, maias,
kaasa meile löö,
kaasa meile löö!
Võta kätte kastekann,
võta kastekann,
võta kätte kastekann või reha,
tööd on teha,
palju teha tööd,
palju teha tööd!

Summ, summ, summ, summ,
summ, summ, summ, summ,
aia nurgas seisab mesipuu.
Summ, summ, summ, summ,
summ, summ, summ, summ,
see on meie kooli mesipuu.

Tubli töömees on küll mesilind,
tubli töömees on küll mesilind,
pole meilgi väiksem hool ja ind!
Meie kooli katseaias
lapsi ootab töö,
oled porgandi
või marja peale maias, maias,
kaasa meile löö,
kaasa meile löö!

Võta kätte kastekann,
võta kastekann,
võta kätte kastekann või reha,
tööd on teha,
palju teha tööd,
palju teha tööd!

II
Labidatera lõikab mulda,
ilusa peenra teeme.
Päikesekera puistab kulda,
sinna, kus idaneb seeme.
Labidatera lõikab mulda,
ilusa peenra teeme.
Päikesekera puistab kulda,
sinna, kus idaneb seeme.
Tasasel sahinal vihmake sajab,
tärkavaid taimi joodab,
umbrohi kahinal püsti end ajab,
peremeest mängida loodab.
Tühjalt aega me ei raiska,
sest et töö on meile kallis.
Ühtki loodrit ega laiska
endi hulgas me ei salli!
Nüüd ei ole pikka juttu,
tuleb kablid kätte võtta.
Tulge ruttu, tulge ruttu
ohakate vastu sõtta!

III
Kuula, kuula, nokalaata,
vaata aga vaata,
kuula, kuula, nokalaata,
vaata aga vaata!
Linnud aeda tulid.
Mis teie sädistate,
mis teie kädistate,
pisikesed sulid?
Meie Aadi ise
hernehirmutise
pani aeda vahti.
See ei liigu paigast,
aga pikka kaigast
käest ei lase lahti,
käest ei lase lahti,
peab vahti.
Ta ei luba varast
üle tulla tarast,
hoolsalt seda kaitseb.

IV
Lopsakalt on kasvand peedid,
kopsakad on kapsapead.
Porgandid on hästi suured,
vägevad on naerijuured,
saak on rikkalik ja hea!
Tihedalt on õunu puus,
sõstar lausa sulab suus.
Tihedalt on õunu puus,
sõstar lausa sulab suus.
Üheskoos,
üheskoos,
koristame saagi,
igaüks meist jälle,
igaüks meist jälle kaasa lööb,
jälle kaasa lööb.
Meie aed, meie aed,
nagu kodumaagi rõõmus on,
kui teeme,
rõõmus on, kui teeme tööd,
teeme tööd,
teeme tööd!


I
Our school has quite some garden:
It’s a wonderland!
If you’d like to have sweet carrots
Or some juicy berries,
Come, give us a hand,
Come, give us a hand!
Take a spade and get to work,
Come on, get to work!
There’s so much that you can do here
In our lovely garden,
In our wonderland,
In our wonderland.
Bzz, bzz, bzz, bzz,
Bzz, bzz, bzz, bzz,
See the beehive at the farthest end?
Bzz, bzz, bzz, bzz,
Bzz, bzz, bzz, bzz,
That’s the beehive of our school, my friend!
Little bees work hard, we all agree,
Little bees work hard, we all agree,
Little bees work hard and so do we!
Our school has quite some garden:
It’s a wonderland!
If you want to have more berries,
Try just working harder,
Come, give us a hand,
Come, give us a hand!
Take a spade and get to work,
Come on, get to work!
There’s so much that you can do here
In our lovely garden,
In our wonderland,
In our wonderland.

II
Flowerbed-time: our work goes on, we’ll
Toil with the soil for some hours,
Hoping the kind and golden sun will
Turn the small seeds into flowers.
Flowerbed-time: our work goes on, we’ll
Toil with the soil for some hours,
Hoping the kind and golden sun will
Turn the small seeds into flowers.
Later the rain comes to water the ground,
As everyone needs it badly.
Then the old weeds want to boss here around
And spread out their bodies quite madly.
Wicked weeds may soon devour
Every drop of rain for dinner.
Nothing left for little flowers,
They would starve and grow much thinner.

That’s enough, we have to stop it,
Soldiers, do you hear the whistles?
Take your hoe and do not drop it:
Let’s declare now war to thistles!

III
Listen, listen to this twitter,
Look, who’s come to chatter,
Listen, listen to this twitter,
Look, who’s come to chatter!
Birds have come for berries.
Hey, little cheeky chirpers,
Hey, little cheeky chirpers,
These are our cherries!
Tom has made a scarecrow:
It’s a scary fellow
Watching our garden.
Checking out the strangers,
Keeping out the dangers:
That’s the really scary
Ragamuffin guardian
In our garden.
Thieves are gone forever
Thanks to our clever
Ragamuffin guardian.

IV
Cherries taste so fine and mellow,
And our hearts will fill with joy;
Pumpkin is so huge and yellow,
Cabbage is a heavy fellow:
That’s a harvest to enjoy!
Sea of apples at your feet,
Take a bite – they taste so sweet!
Sea of apples at your feet,
Take a bite – they taste so sweet!
There’s no doubt,
There’s no doubt,
Harvesting is funny!
We are working, we are playing,
We are eating and our
Laughter is so loud,
Laughter is so loud.
So our work will go on
Till the days are sunny;
Our homeland can be proud of us, and
We are proud,
We are proud,
We are proud!
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