• Soprano; mba
  • SATB (divisi)
  • 15 min

Programme Note

Cantata-concerto on poetry of Amy Lowell
Commissioned by Houston Chamber Choir and dedicated to Robert Simpson

At Night
Hora Stellatrix
A Winter's Ride

Composer Note:
I first encountered the work of poet Amy Lowell in a song cycle by the composer Zachary Wadsworth. Immediately taken by the vivid images and inherently musical nature of the text— to say nothing of Zach’s poignant and evocative musical setting—, I immersed myself in the writings of this turn-of-the-20th-century poet. I was ecstatic to find that Lowell held Milton in high regard and wrote with a transcendentalist bent reminiscent of Whitman— two artists for whom I have a great affinity. This cantata-concerto is the culmination of a love affair with her word, at once both youthfully vivacious and elegantly burnished.

The music makes virtuosic use of the marimba, hence the use of the term cantata-concerto. While always in service to the spirit and emotion evoked by the text, it requires a percussionist of professional caliber. The choral parts and the soprano solo also demand singers of the highest level—able to produce a stark pianissimo and a flexible and powerful fortissimo—all with exceptional tonal clarity and expressive declamation of the poetry. The Houston Chamber Choir is ideally suited to these challenges, and the work has been written with their particular agility, intelligence, and interpretational zeal in mind. This work is a gift to them and to their artistic director, Robert Simpson, in thanks for the opportunity to sing regularly with such a world-class ensemble of musicians.

— Dominick DiOrio

A Dome of Many-Coloured Glass
ACDA National Conference - Movement 4 "A Winter Ride" with Houston Chamber Choir