a joyful work for chorus, string orchestra, oboe, and C trumpet (10')
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The Full Score is formatted for 11x17in. paper, the parts are formatted for 9x12in. paper, and the vocal score is formatted for 8.5x11in. paper.
Completed in January, 2016.
Instrumentation: SATB chorus (with divisi), string orchestra (minimum 22.214.171.124.1), oboe, C trumpet
Commissioned by the Spiritus Chamber Choir.
Dedicated to Timothy Shantz and the Spiritus Chamber Choir, on the occasion of its 20th anniversary. World premiere on March 12, 2016
Text: from the Book of Daniel (in Latin)
One of the less-explored emotions in contemporary classical music is joy. Perhaps this is understandable; in a world of seemingly inescapable violence, lingering oppression, and diminishing interest in art, it can be hard to find reasons to “make a joyful noise.”
When I was asked to compose a piece for the 20th anniversary of the Spiritus Chamber Choir, a choir in which I sang for four years, I decided to write with unapologetic joy. The Benedicite is a canticle from the Book of Daniel. It’s a text that celebrates all of God’s creations: light and dark, fire and ice, human and animal. This broad celebration of life seemed a perfect text to celebrate a choir and, more broadly, all people who come together to sing.
The piece opens with explosive canons in the string orchestra, and the antiphonal oboe and trumpet herald the choir’s entrance. This opening refrain, which celebrates the heavens, recurs throughout the piece, contrasted with slower and more colorful sections that explore earthly creations.