• Dominick DiOrio
  • Awake Her Not (2014)

  • G Schirmer Inc (World)

The Craig Hella Johnson Schirmer Choral Series

  • fl
  • SATB
  • 4 min

Programme Note

First Performance
April 19, 2014
Whitman College Music Department
Whitman College Chorale
Jeremy Mims, director
Whitman College
Walla Walla, WA

Composer Note:
Awake Her Not is a setting of Christina Rossetti’s poignant and evocative poem Dream Land. Her text is shiftily painted with dark and brooding images of shadows, stars, and sunless rivers. The centerpoint of the poem is the sad singing of the nightingale, which I underline in my setting by the characterful use of the flute. The chorus fills the role of storyteller, at times describing the nocturnal sleep scene, and at other times proclaiming strong commands: “awake her not”.

This work is a companion piece to I Am, also commissioned by Jeremy Mims for his wonderful choirs at Whitman College. If performed together, I Amshould come first and move immediately into Awake Her Not without break. The subject matter of both works is synchronous, as each of the poems in turn deal with an onlooker’s response to sleep, dreams, and death.

Both of these works are humbly dedicated to the Chorale and the Chamber Singers of Whitman College and their fine director, Jeremy Mims.

— Dominick DiOrio

Where sunless rivers weep
Their waves into the deep,
She sleeps a charmed sleep:
Awake her not.
Led by a single star,
She came from very far
To seek where shadows are
Her pleasant lot.

She left the rosy morn,
She left the fields of corn,
For twilight cold and lorn
And water springs.
Through sleep, as through a veil,
She sees the sky look pale,
And hears the nightingale
That sadly sings.

Rest, rest, a perfect rest
Shed over brow and breast;
Her face is toward the west,
The purple land.
She cannot see the grain
Ripening on hill and plain;
She cannot feel the rain
Upon her hand.

Rest, rest, for evermore
Upon a mossy shore;
Rest, rest at the heart's core
Till time shall cease:
Sleep that no pain shall wake;
Night that no morn shall break
Till joy shall overtake
Her perfect peace.

"Dream Land" (1849) by Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)