(text: Scott Cunningham) for 5 choirs, a cappella; 6-9' (2008) (commissioned by the University of Wisconsin-Madison choral department)
composer’s note: When I was asked to write a piece to be sung by 5 incredible choirs simultaneously, in a large & resonant chapel, at a winter holiday concert, I wanted to find a text that would be larger than life and able to connect with people from all different backgrounds. Scott Cunningham is the author of many books on Wiccan practices and faith, but his midwinter meditation is wonderfully inclusive. The main thrust of the text is that “I sorrow not” despite the cold dark winter, for “this too shall soon be past.” And so the text exhorts us to “meditate upon the sun” for its return in the spring. Winter concerts are so often focused on Christmas, Hanukkah, and other holidays that it is quite refreshing to present a text so universal, about the world and the seasons and the coming spring.
My setting of it is huge and atmospheric, incorporating many different textures and complex counterpoint, but all in the service of creating a warm mood, depicting the human warmth that gets us through the winter, and the warmth of the sun that is to come. My original version is about 9 minutes long and very expansive, but the piece also exists in an abridged version that's a more manageable 6 minutes long.