Commissioned by the John J. Cali School of Music Commissioning Project for the Montclair State University Singers, Heather J. Buchanan conductor, to celebrate the opening of the new John J. Cali School of Music building. World premiere performance Saturday April 25 2008 in the Alexander Kasser Theater.
New York, February 2009
THAT music always round me, unceasing, unbeginning—yet long untaught I did not hear;
But now the chorus I hear, and am elated;
A tenor, strong, ascending, with power and health, with glad notes of day-break I hear,
A soprano, at intervals, sailing buoyantly over the tops of immense waves,
A transparent bass, shuddering lusciously under and through the universe,
The triumphant tutti—the funeral wailings, with sweet flutes and violins—all these I fill myself with;
I hear not the volumes of sound merely—I am moved by the exquisite meanings,
I listen to the different voices winding in and out, striving, contending with fiery vehemence to excel each other in emotion;
I do not think the performers know themselves—but now I think I begin to know them.
[Walt Whitman (1819-1892), That Music Always Round Me]
Now, of the music summoned by the birth
That separates us from the wind and sea,
Yet leaves us in them, until earth becomes,
By being so much of the things we are,
Gross effigy and simulacrum, none
Gives motion to perfection more serene
Than yours, out of our own imperfections wrought,
Most rare, or ever of more kindred air
In the laborious weaving that you wear.
[Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), excerpt from To the One of Fictive Music]