for symphonic band and chorus (or vocal ensemble)
|Instrumentation:||Symphonic band and chorus, or, symphonic band and a vocal ensemble|
It is possible to perform the work with a full choir setting, or vocal ensemble (singers one on a part, amplified.)
3 flutes (3rd also doubles piccolo), alto Flute; 3 oboes (3rd doubles English horn; 3 bassoons (3rd doubles contra bassoon); piccolo clarinet, 6 clarinets, bass clarinet, contrabass clarinet; 4 saxophones (SATB); 6 horns; 3 trumpets; 2 flugelhorns; 3 tenor trombones, 1 Bass trombone; 1 euphonium, 2 tubas; double bass; harp; piano/celeste (one player); percussion (5 players);
|Poems by:||Henry Wadsworth Longfellow|
|Written for:||Frank L. Battisti|
29, April 2005 ,
Boston, MA, USA
MIT Chorus and Wind Ensemble
William Cutter, chorus director
Fred Harris, conductor
Gleams from the Bosom of Darkness (2002) for symphonic band and chorus is influenced by the various sources of light: the moon, stars, lanterns, lighthouses, who guide our way through the darkness. Light has different intensities, different colors and different halos. It flickers, twinkles, shimmers, dazzles, gleams, dims. . . All of these visual images found their way into my score. Therefore, Gleams from the Bosom of Darkness is a journey through darkness while being surrounded by ever changing sources of light. In the symbolic way, the light help us pass from darkness into a better place in our lives: from hard times to better ones.
The endless coloristic opportunities that chorus and wind ensemble can give, drove me to create an atmospheric, mysterious and somewhat meditative work rather than a piece that uses the wind ensemble as an accompanist to the chorus. Blocks of sound and rapidly changing colors instead of lyrical melodies or functional harmonies. The chorus and the wind ensemble are one body; both are instruments as well as voices.
My search for texts has ended as I read the poems and other writings of Henry W. Longfellow (1807-1882.) Longfellow’s work is full of descriptive images of light and darkness, both in the visual and the symbolic sense. His poems are the closest written descriptions of light and darkness as I imagined while writing the music. Written at time when electricity was barely introduced, the poems still bring a romantic quality into the visual element of light; a more personal contact between the man and his light. In my composition, I used fragments from various poems to support the musical statement of light and darkness.
Gleams from the Bosom of Darkness was commissioned by “The Frank L. Battisti 70th Birthday Commission Project”, and is fondly dedicated to Frank Battisti with high appreciation of his life achievements.
Lux Aeterna – Eternal Light
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)
From Christus: A Mystery:
Darker and darker! Hardly a glimmer
Of light comes in at the window-pane;
Or is it my eyes are growing dimmer?
From The day is Done:
The day is done, and the darkness
Falls from the wings of Night,
As a feather is wafted downward
From an eagle in his flight.
Into the darkness and the hush of night
Slowly the landscape sinks, and fades away,
And with it fade the phantoms of the day,
The ghosts of men and things, that haunt the light.
From Daylight and Moonlight:
Then the moon, in all her pride,
Like a spirit glorified,
Filled and overflowed the night
With revelations of her light.
As a pale phantom with a lamp
Ascends some ruin’s haunted stair,
So glides the moon along the damp
Mysterious chambers of the air.
Now hidden in cloud, and now revealed,
As if this phantom, full of pain,
Were by the crumbling walls concealed,
And at the windows seen again.
From Fragments, 1856:
So from the bosom of darkness our days come roaring and gleaming,
Chafe and break into foam, sink into darkness again.
But on the shores of Time each leaves some trace of its passage,
Though the succeeding wave washes it out from the sand.