love is the every only god
A song cycle for mixed chorus with piano accompaniment to poems by E. E. Cummings. This piece can be found on the CD Evening Wind, available in the Store.

Duration: 25'
Difficulty: 4/5

Click here to view score.

love is the every only god

first interlude

what time is it?

lady will you come with me

second interlude

white guardians

now that more nearest

silently if

J.A.C.’s setting of the unique poetry of E. E. cummings, entitled after the first poem love is the every only god, is as remarkable for its allegiance to both the spirit and the letter of the text as it is for its musical language and thematic development. About his work, J.A.C. writes, “I have loved Cummings’ poetry since I first became acquainted with it as a teenager. Today’s song cycle is the second one I have composed to his works. love is the every only god is a setting of six poems, culled from a much larger group of candidates, each embracing the theme of love, both erotic and spiritual. Through these poems, Cummings speaks of ultimate things: God and man, knowledge and mystery, light and darkness, time and timelessness. He reveals them through metaphors that arise from ordinary human experience. References to the moon and stars, the earth and the sea, to clocks and kisses, secrets and dreams, echo from one poem to another, blossoming with cumulative resonance like the pealing of bells. My aim, as a composer, is to illuminate Cummings’ already potent words, to open a gate into another dimension of their deep and terrible beauty.” (Peter Rutenberg, Music Director, Los Angeles Chamber Singers)
1. love is the every only god
2. what time is it?it is by every star
3. lady will you come with me into
4. white guardians of the universe of sleep
5. now that, more nearest even than your fate
6. silently if, out of not knowable
Commission & Performance History
love is the every only god was commissioned by Grammy Award-winning Peter Rutenberg and Los Angeles Chamber Singers and was premiered on 9 June 2002 at Bel Air Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles with Alan Steinberger at the piano. LACS recorded it in 2006 for the CD Evening Wind: Choral Music of J.A.C. Redford.

Songs from the cycle have been performed by choirs at North Texas State University, led by Jerry McCoy, and at LSU under the direction of Kenneth Fulton, who selected portions of the work for performance at his retirement concert in 2012. Three movements from love is the every only god were sung on a 2012 tour through Texas by the Pacific Lutheran University Chorale, under the direction of Brian Galante, culminating in a performance at the Northwestern Division convention of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA).

The cycle was the subject of a 2010 Louisiana State University Doctor of Musical Arts dissertation by Amy Louise Aucoin entitled The Illumination of e. e. Cummings’ Poetry in J.A.C. Redford’s “Love Is the Every Only God.”
Reviews & Responses
“Upon hearing a performance of Love is the Every Only God, I was struck by the evocative, colorful settings of these E. E. Cummings texts. This is music that every college/professional conductor should know.” (Jerry McCoy, North Texas State University)

“It is no easy task for a composer to first understand Cummings’ poetic effort and then to effectively apply this understanding to a musical thought process and context. Redford’s love is the every only god is compelling because of its success in musically representing these poetic elements.” (Amy Louise Aucoin, The Illumination of e. e. Cummings’ Poetry in J.A.C. Redford’s “Love Is the Every Only God.” Louisiana State University, 2010, p. 188)