Opus 1107

The Dawning Light (2015)

for Eight Women's Voices

Texts from traditional poems and songs of the Inuit-Yupik

Lorelei Ensemble; Beth Willer, director

Duration: 20 min.

Dedication: for Lorelei Ensemble (Beth Willer, Founder and Artistic Director)

Commission: Commissioned by Lorelei Ensemble

Publisher: Zimbel Press/Subito Music Corp.

Performance materials available from the publisher.

The Dawning Light (2015) for eight women’s voices was commissioned by Lorelei Ensemble (Beth Willer, Founder and Artistic Director), who premiered it on May 22–23, 2015.

The work uses as its text traditional songs and poems of the Inuit-Yupik (Eskimo) in anonymous English translations. The texts are direct and vivid in their straightforward expression. While not quoting or employing any indigenous musical idiom, the music seeks a similar clarity—striving to allow the text’s images to generate the music in an organic manner.

Two outer vocalise (wordless) movements frame the five texted movements and also provide brief synopses of the modal areas traversed by the inner movements. The outer movements evoke the moon and sun respectively in their tranquility and festivity. The inner movements then explore the texts’ contrasting affects within the frame of those natural lights.

In general terms, my music in all genres spends relatively little time in darkness. It tends most often to be at some level about a progression towards light; not always from darkness; sometimes just from lesser light to greater light. So there is a sense in which almost every note I put to paper is a small attempt to react to “the light that fills the world.” In this piece, the texts make this resonance quite explicit.