Music Awakes (1992)

Instrumentation: choir (SSATB) and piano

Text: from Walt Whitman

Duration: 6:00

Written for the choir of the First Unitarian Church of Wichita, Kansas

Premiered at First Unitarian Church; January 17, 1993.

Notes: Music Awakes was inspired by a line from a Walt Whitman poem entitled “For You,” which appears as a responsive reading in the Unitarian Universalist hymnal: “All music is what awakes from you when you are reminded by the instruments” The text of the piece accumulates gradually, starting with the word “music;” it is not stated in its entirety until about two thirds of the way through. The text then gradually fragments again, until it becomes little more than a pure vocalize. Tonally, the piece is based on a Lydian-Mixolydian scale; this has been referred to as the “Scale of Nature,” because it appears in the harmonic series (flat 7, raised 4). The harmonic movement unfolds slowly in order to create a sense of spaciousness and grandeur.

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