Clear Midnight For SATB Choir and Piano, with Handbells, Crotales,
Prayer Stones, and the *Kendrick Bell (5:45) *(This bell can be obtained from
of Solace" website. Alternately, a handbell or another
bell-like sound will suffice.... sounding at G# above middle-C)
Gladde Music Publcations (#201501) $2.15
Evocative images often inspire colors, timbres, and
even ethereal sounds in the "inner ear" of the
composer's imagination. The
composer gives this background; "One night, years ago, I was driving with my
wife and sons back from our first trip to the Grand Canyon - toward
Phoenix. Out in the middle of nowhere... removed from all city
lights... we stopped to gaze upon an unbelievably
starry sky! The spectacular shooting stars were more
awe-inspiring than any fireworks we had ever seen! We gazed
upon this celestial show for a long while, my young sons sitting on
the warm hood of our car."
"A Clear Midnight"
to build a musical soundscape of evocative sonorities, reminiscent
of that luminous night near the Grand Canyon. Those memories
are vividly rekindled in this serene poem by Walt Whitman, one of
America's most beloved and unique homegrown poets.
Click the image below to enlarge...
a very sonorous piece.... not technically difficult.... slow-moving
with ethereal harmonies. It requires soft and sensitive unison
singing, good breath support, and careful shaping of the singer's
tone. There's a bit of slow, imitative singing at points.
Then, there's a brief section of aleatoric murmurings. The
music concludes with gentle polychords in the voices, converging into
a final unison while the instruments create a shimmering
conclusion. Some choir members will play Handbells while
singing. Two singers will briefly play the Prayer Stones in one
spot. A choir member will strike the Kendrick Bell three
times. A percussionist (or a singer who plays keyboard) will
play the Crotales with mallets. There are two places where the
Crotales will be "bowed" with a Contrabass bow.
words allude to the mood of the music;
musical techniques are utilized to create the musical fabric;
minimalism polychordal harmony
To see a full-sized photo, click on the image below
The composer writes; "I've always had a strong
affinity for Astronomy. My love
for all things stars, planets,
and moons became my creative generator
for writing "A
Clear Midnight". A
world-renowned flautist friend of mine, Brooks
de Wetter-Smith, took this photograph on the same evening that I
completed this composition. Unbeknownst to me - he was viewing
this moon in North Carolina while I was gazing up at the same moon in
California. What a serendipitous "reunion" of our
friendship from graduate days together at Eastman!"
The photograph above is the Super Blood Moon, a
total eclipse of the moon that appeared on the night of September 27,
2015. It happens to be at its closest point to the earth in
it's elliptical orbit. In the Northern Hemisphere, it's called
the Harvest Moon. In the Southern Hemisphere, it's the first
full moon of spring. It's also called a Blood Moon... the reddish
color produced by sunlight bending around the earth during the
eclipse which emphasizes the red portion of the color spectrum.
This astronomical phenomenon won't occur again until 2033!