This commission for the Celebration (FL) Community Chorus was initiated by their conductor (and my student) Kristopher Schave, in memory of Paul Temple Patterson, long-time member of the chorus and friend to the Celebration community. The text is by Bessie Rayner Parkes, poet, essayist and journalist, who was one of the most prominent English feminists and campaigner for women’s rights in Victorian times. For her, music is everywhere – in birds, flowers, winds and waves -- but mostly in earnest human voices raised in charity and for the cause of truth. This “grateful incense” mingles together and floats, in one sacred chord, up to God. The melodic phrases have gentle contours and the singing style is lyrical. SATB chorus and piano. Boosey & Hawkes 48023476.
O AULA NOBILIS
This is a festive work, composed for the opening of the Natalie L. Haslam music center at the University of Tennessee. The UT Chamber Singers, conducted by Angela Batey, sang the first performance in the Haslam hall on September 12, 2013. After the opening unaccompanied chant in the women’s voices, the music, though clearly based on the chant melody, takes on a highly rhythmic, asymmetrical and angular character, with a bright and resonant quality. The brass quintet is supportive of the singers and interjects with bright fanfare passages and rhythmic punctuation. For SATB chorus, 2 trumpets, horn, trombone and tuba. Boosey & Hawkes 48023459.
MUSIC CAME AND STARTLED ME
My friendship with and admiration of Lori Lovell, choral director at Maitland Middle School, was the inspiration for this work. She came to me with (yet another!) idea for a grand collaboration, this time involving singers from her choirs, along with instrumentalists from her colleagues' band and orchestra groups, for a performance scheduled at Riverside Church in New York City. In addition, her poet friend Stacy Barton had written words that I found imaginative and full of wonder. The text, excerpted from Stacy’s larger poem, forgotten dreams, beautifully describes yearning, dreaming, and the sensation of flying, a childhood dream I had on more than one occasion and can still feel. “When I was small I think I flew; as a child I’m sure I knew of ancient myths, forgotten dreams, all flown on wings of song it seems”. My attention kept returning to the initial phrase “music came and startled me” , which seemed the perfect title. The full orchestration for strings, winds, piano and light percussion, is colorful and of moderate challenge, though the piano version works nicely, as well. There is a gentle lyricism and a dance-like quality throughout, with buoyant, lifted phrases and a sense of wonder and possibility. For two part treble chorus with piano. (chamber orchestra version also available). Boosey & Hakwes 48023353.
I DREAM A WORLD
All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California is a vital and dynamic parish and a congregation called to social responsibility and action. When the opportunity arose to write a piece for the Trouvères youth choir, in commemoration of the 125th anniversary of the church, the words of Langston Hughes came immediately to mind, as an appropriate text for the occasion and the people of All Saints. For SAB chorus with piano. Boosey & Hawkes 48023334
EVERYTHING IS MUSIC
An invitation from Tim Sharp to write a piece for his Miami Children's Chorus, players from the New World Symphony and Dance Now! Miami --a young and innovative contemporary dance troupe -- to be performed in the magnificent Frank Gehry designed New World Symphony Center in Miami Beach, was too good to be true. I knew this choir and had written for them before (Yo le Canto todo el Dia, Psalm 150, Sir Brother Sun) but did not know the dancers and what they might create with, and because of, my music. Their elegant and nuanced choreography satisfied me in every way. It was gorgeous. The texts by Tagore and Rumi resonate with vibrancy and have attracted me for a number of years. Though excerpts from longer poems, they seem to belong with each other. "The sky full of sun and stars, the world full of life, and in the midst of this, I find myself. So, surprised, my song awakens... Stop the words now, open the window in the center of your chest, and let the spirits fly in and out! We have fallen into the place where everything is music." I particularly like the last line. What good fortune! For SSA chorus with piano. (chamber orchestra version also available). Boosey & Hawkes 48023332.
THE CIRCLES OF OUR LIVES
At last, the mixed chorus version! My love for Wendell Berry’s poetry dates back ten years when I chose this text for the 2000 ACDA Brock Commission for children’s chorus. Since then it has been rescored for four part men’s chorus, premiered by the Turtle Creek Chorale, Timothy Seelig, conductor, and this mixed chorus version, which was suggested by Mike Grant and written for his choir, the Symphonic Choir of Smoky Hill High School in Aurora, Colorado. It premiered in January 2010 at the Colorado Music Educators Association conference. There is also an instrumental arrangement for solo winds, string quartet and piano, which was written for the Young Women’s Chorus of Kentucky, Rob Paugh, director, and premiered by them at the Kentucky Music Educators association conference in Louisville in 2002. I am touched by Berry’s contemplative voice and the inspirational nature and reverence in each and every word, a profound sincerity and respect for the wonder of life and the circles that bring it round. For SATB chorus with piano. Boosey & Hakwes 48023331.
BLESSED BY LIGHT
Rumi was a 13th century Persian poet, theologian and mystic, whose words speak often of union with the beloved from whom he has been cut off and the longing to restore it. His universal messages of love and spiritual journey have an appeal across time and cultures and this text seemed perfect for this work in celebration of the wedding anniversary of Kyla and John Gulliver. The original version was for solo soprano, but the addition of the alto voice adds color, while maintaining a delicate texture. Each phrase is a simple presentation of the text, fairly short and syllabic, with a buoyancy and gentle lyricism. Highly impressionistic harmonies and frequently shifting key centers provide a floating quality. The text is full of lovely sensations: carving gems, dressing the earth, feeling the breeze, scattering gold dust, lighting our path to love. For two part treble chorus with piano. Boosey & Hawkes 48023326
I AM IN NEED OF MUSIC
The SSA version! The original mixed chorus setting has been popular with choirs and
audiences across the country and this new treble version has a beautiful resonance for
women's voices. David Rayl, who initiated the original project in memory of David Nott,
says this is an "extremely sensitive setting of an extraordinarily beautiful poem. This is
the sort of piece that speaks directly to the heart of the singer and the listener."
Boosey & Hawkes #48023319
VIVA LA MUSICA!
The SSA version of this popular piece. The old round Viva la Musica is the source of the text
and the syle was inspired by Viva Tutti and other, similar well-known, robust songs.
Vigorous singing with a dance-like quality and energetic feeling of rhythm.
Boosey & Hawkes #48023333
Grace was commissioned by the Sloan Creek Middle School A Cappella Treble Choir and their
director Christina Chapman, in memory of Daniel Phillips and for performance at the 2013
national ACDA convention in Dallas, Texas. Oliver Wendell Holmes' poem is a sturdy
hymn-like text of four-line verses, each verse melodically different, though similar in lyricism.
Despite references of "brief, bright moments fading fast", "sorrowing hours" and "all we mourn,
all we keep", the poetic and musical mood is not dark, but warm and hopeful.
Boosey & Hawkes #48023074
IF I COULD FLY
I have, on a number of occasions, set the words of Bill Worrell, a Texas sculptor, poet, and
in his words "Texas' most unknown songwriter." A few years ago Worrell sent me a home
recording of him singing If I Could Fly, accompanying himself on the guitar, with a pinon fire
crackling in the background. On every other occasion, I have newly composed music to his
words, but was moved by the honesty of this gentle melody and so, offer this arrangement
of his musical ideas. Two part treble chorus with piano. Boosey & Hawkes #48023042
The long-awaited second work in the Ecstatic Songs cycle, Don't Go is a companion
piece to All I Was Doing Was Breathing, which premiered at the national ACDA
convention in Oklahoma City, sung memorably by Sandra Snow's Michigan State
University Women's Chamber Ensemble. Mira's voice is given to a soloist who
expresses longing through sinuous, spinning melodic material. The choir is a rich
landscape setting the modal framework and shaping moments of intensity and
longing to support the vivid text. SSAA chorus with mezzo soprano solo,
pakhawaj, Tibetan finger cymbals, brass bowls and elephant bells.
Boosey & Hawkes #48022954
I take delight in Scott Lounsbury’s poems, so turned to him with a request for this
commission for the 2013 Mississippi ACDA All-State Honor Choir. I wanted something
about creativity and in a few short days he delivered Brainstorm – a tour de force of
whirling images, imaginative turns of phrase and a rhythmic insistency that doesn’t stop.
Everything I wanted! On first reading, bits of rhythm suggested themselves and I rushed
to scribble them down. There’s an angularity about this, an urgency, a playfulness, an
electricity, a propulsion, and a vocal enthusiasm for the way these words roll off the tongue.
SATB divisi chorus with piano. Boosey & Hawkes #48022971
My friend Eric Wilkinson and his fantastic singers at Wando High School live in an area
which has a close connection to the sea. Charleston, South Carolina is a charming city
that I’ve visited a number of times and I’m always aware of the air and atmosphere, the
proximity of the water -- its sound and smell – and the city’s wonderful seafood. When
Eric suggested looking at texts that had to do with water and living near the water, this
well-known poem of John Masefield came immediately to mind. There’s a rocking nature
in the gently undulating melodic gestures and recurring rhythmic ideas that will inform
your performance with regard to tempo, articulation, dynamic shading and expression.
SATB chorus with piano. Walton Music #00116958
The commissioned work for the 2012 Sing-A-Mile-High Children's Choir Festival in Denver.
Lewis Carrol's text is filled with curious words which evoke fantastic images. The music is
all about dramatic story-telling -- angular melody, strongly defined rhythm, and some quirky
bits of harmony combine to provide singers the opportunity to use text and tone to bring the
spectacle to life. It was a special joy to collaborate with Yvonne Farrow, whose creative
choralography brought a fanciful theatricality to the premiere, as the chorus of 290 singers
took on the character of the townspeople, the mayor, and the young hero, and took flight
en masse as the dreaded Jabberwock! It was highly imaginative and great fun!
For SSA chorus with piano. SSA chorus with piano. Walton Music #00116954
SHALL I SILENT BE
George Herbert's text from the poem Christmas, also used in Vaughan Williams' Hodie,
has a pastoral quality (flocks, shepherds, pastures, streams) and a personal association
("My soul's a shepherd too"), the concluding stanza culminating in strong and joyful
conviction ("Then we will sing, and shine all our own day..."). Lyrical solo phrases,
homophonic and animated passages all serve to illuminate the text and there are many
tempo related opportunities for expressive singing. The Mississippi College Singers premiere
was conducted by James Meaders. SATB chorus with piano. Boosey & Hawkes #48022757
VIVA LA MUSICA!
The old round Viva la Musica is the source of the text and the style was inspired
by Viva Tutti and other, similar well-known, robust songs. SATB a cappella chorus.
Boosey & Hawkes # 48022619
THE MUSIC SINGS IN THEM
The Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts commissioned this
as the second work in the Lloyd Pfautsch memorial anthem series, for premiere at their
2009 national convocation. On a text by Guillaume de Machaut ("For the saints can only
sing when the music sings in them.") and Charles Wesley's sturdy O For A Thousand
Tongues to Sing. SATB chorus with organ. Boosey & Hawkes #48022583
YO LE CANTO TODO EL DIA for Men's Choir!
The treble and mixed chorus versions of this popular piece have long been best sellers
and this has a distinctive color that fits perfectly! TTB chorus with piano.
Boosey & Hawkes #48021243
Let me know if you'd like a complimentary copy of these or any other works.