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SATB a cappella (no divisi)

Commissioned by Bishop Watterson High School, Ohio USA [Ryan Jenkins]

3 min

Text by Marjorie Pickthall

“The Road I Trod” is an anthem for mixed chorus, with no divisi. It features a unison opening which presents the melody clearly. The tenors and basses enter on a drone while the soprano and alto sing the melody again, in a canon. The voices join together at the cadence to bringing a sense of closure. The work develops with an imitative section with staggered entries of each section culminating in a final passage with expressive swells in the soprano, tenor and bass while the alto sings the melody again.

The anthem speaks to themes about home, joy, love, togetherness and finding comfort in faith. The canonic texture speaks to images of wandering, and longing, while the homophonic cadences reassure us, a coming together in completeness. The imitative sections bring about ideas of loss of faith and questioning of faith – journeying. Again, the homophonic cadential ideas warm us and put us back together, they heal us.

The text is an excerpt from British born, Canadian poet Marjorie Pickthall. The poem “Going Home” in the public domain worldwide.

TEXT: O, had your hand been in my hand
As the long chalk-road I trod,
The green hills of the lovely land
Had seemed the hills of God.

**CANCELLED DUE TO COVID 19 VIRUS PER UNIVERSITY RULES**

Matthew Emery’s DMA Composition Recital featuring music inspired by architecture.

“Buildings” for chamber ensemble and “Barren Cabin, Tin Roof” for chamber ensemble and mixed chorus.

Performers: The Elmer Iseler Singers – Lydia Adams, Marie Bérard [violin], Eric Abramovitz [clarinet], Leslie Newman [flute], Jamie Drake [percussion], and Yvonne Choi [piano]

March 29th, 5:00pm, Free Admission. St. Anne’s Anglican Church (Toronto)

Facebook Event Link

The Crane Is My Neighbour

Unison Voices and Piano

Boosey and Hawkes 2019

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The bird is a noble, he turns to the sky for a theme,
And the ripples are thoughts coming out to the edge of a dream.
How patient he is as he puts out his wings for the blue!
His eyes are as old as the twilight, and calm as the dew.
The bird is my neighbour, he leaves not a claim for a sigh,
He moves as the guest of the sunlight-he roams in the sky.
The bird is a noble, he turns to the sky for a theme,
And the ripples are thoughts coming out to the edge of a dream.
John Shaw Neilson (1872-1942)


Neilson’s poem speaks to something that is immortal, a companion to guide us through life. The unison voices are independent from the accompaniment and provide an important opportunity for your singers to develop strong musicianship.


Three Part Voices and Piano

Text by a member of the Atlantic Girls Choir, adapted by Matthew Emery

4 min duration

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Commissioned by the Atlantic Girls Choir 

Text;

Where is our strength when the worlds gone wrong
How do we know our future is bright
Standing together we grow strong
Drown ignorance out of its light
and make a future for everyone
stand with your sisters, mothers and friends
brothers we need your help with this fight
Standing together
Hands together were
Unified
We Celebrate each other,
And make our world strong

Stand together
Unite our voices
Fight this injustice
With strong rejoices
Love each other for who they are
Love each person no matter their scars
Strength, and resilience smiling through
You are valued and we love you



we grow strong sample

Orchestra

2222 4221 1 + Timp Strings (min: 87654)

Percussion: Bass Drum only

6.5 min duration

Plangere Editions 2019

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“Unanswered Letters” is a lyrical piece which unfolds using variations in colour and textures. The music is inspired by the ideas of the ordinary: dishes left undone, emails unanswered – mail that goes unopened. I am inspired by things that may be seen as unremarkable by others by searching out beauty in everyday life.

It is a work that is inspired by the lists we make: things to do, things we want to do, hope to do, should do, don’t do. The work is a piece which strips away the unnecessary and whats left is only what is needed.

Premiered by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra January 2020.

Read by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, upcoming performances by the Windsor Community Orchestra, University of Toronto Campus Philharmonic Orchestra and Etobicoke Philharmonic

Listen to a 20 second clip, archival recording not for commercial use

SATB and piano

4.5-5 min duration

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Text by Toronto Poet Michael Bennett


Commissioned by Singing Out choir (Toronto).

Video of the Premiere: HERE


The River Sings My Song
Michael Bennett

The river tells my story.
The river sings my song.
It sings of where I’m going.
It sings of where I’ve gone.
It sings of those who’ve sailed with me, of those I’ve yet to know
It sings of who I strive to be, and what I choose to show
The river sings my past, my present, a future yet to be
It changes time, not always in rhyme, and sometimes sings off key
Some verses I no longer sing, I’ve left them far behind
Some I sing for only me, to soothe a troubled mind
I am the river, I am the song
I am more than what you see
I sing out loud, I sing out strong
Sing my hopes, my thoughts, my dreams
My life is in the river,
my life is in the song.
I’ve travelled far from where I’ve been
To a place where I belong.
The water sometimes calm and pure, sometimes rough and wild
Its twists and turns have made me strong and filled my life with pride
But there are times that you may see the river seem to slow,
To change its course, to freeze, to dry, to dam, to cease to flow.
Don’t let the river’s stillness make you think I’ve lost my way
On my journey I may falter, but I’m stronger every day
And when my song is just a whisper,
And the doubts begin to grow,
My quiet strength will see me through…
Under a frozen river, water still flows
I am the river, I am the song
I am more than what you see

I sing out loud, I sing out strong
Sing my hopes, my thoughts, my dreams
My life is in the river,
my life is in the song.
I’ve travelled far from where I’ve been
To a place where I belong.
Like the river I will travel. I’ll sing, be heard, I’ll grow.
My quiet strength will see me through
I’ll be more than I can ever know…
Under a frozen river, water still flows


the river sings my song sample pages

SATB A Cappella

4 min

Paul Bourget

Cypress Choral Music 2020 CP1838


commissioned by Chorale De La Salle Ottawa, Canada. Conductor Robert Filion

Nuit d’été is an anthem for mixed chorus a cappella. The text by Paul Bourget (1852-1935) [in public domain] speaks to feelings we have on ‘sweet summer nights’. It follows a traditional AABACoda form. “Ô nuit, ô douce nuit d’été” acts as a reoccurring musical gesture, in the third stanza the SA voices take the melodic weight while the TB voices sustain on a drone. The music returns to the familiar “A” section in the fourth stanza, and there is an ending Coda section on the text “ô nuit aimante!”

Performance in ITALY : video


Nuit d’été
Paul Bourget
Ô nuit, ô douce nuit d’été, qui viens à nous
Parmi les foins coupés et sous la lune rose,
Tu dis aux amoureux de se mettre à genoux,
Et sur leurs fronts brûlants, un souffle frais se pose!

Ô nuit, ô douce nuit d’été, qui fais fleurir
Les fleurs dans les gazons et les fleurs sur les branches, Tu dis aux tendres cœurs des femmes de s’ouvrir,
Et sous les blonds tilleuls errent des formes blanches!

Ô nuit, ô douce nuit d’été, sur les mers
Alanguis le sanglot des houles convulsées,
Tu dis aux isolés de ne pas être amers,
Et la paix de ton ciel descend dans leurs pensées.

Ô nuit, ô douce nuit d’été, qui parles bas,
Tes pieds se font légers et ta voix endormante, Pour que les pauvres morts ne se réveillent pas, Eux qui ne peuvent plus aimer, ô nuit aimante!

Translation;

Oh, night, oh, sweet summer night, that comes to us When the hay is cut; and, beneath the rosy moon, Tells the lovers to kneel,
Anointing their burning brows with its cooling breath.

Oh, night, oh, sweet summer night, persuading
The lawn and branches to blossom,
Telling the tender hearts of ladies to open
Beneath the fairness of limes, where pale shapes wander.

Oh, night, oh, sweet summer night, that upon the seas Calms the sobs of the furious swells,
You tell the lonely not to be bitter
And the peace of your sky will descend into their thoughts.

Oh, night, oh, sweet summer night, speak softly With lightened feet and soothing voice
So that the poor deceased, who can love no more, Will not be wakened, oh loving night!


nuit sample pages

SSA and Piano

Text by Marjorie Pickthall

4 min duration

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Commissioned by the Oriana Choir of Toronto, Mitchell Pady.

audio excerpt:

Notes:

“Snow Dreams” aims to capture the magic and peacefulness of snow; how it falls, how it silences the landscape, how it reflects light and how it encapsulates time and place. The work is almost bare, only a faint framework of pitches from the piano lay underneath long beautiful melodies from the singers as if a still frozen landscape unfolds. Defenseless trees stand waiting to bare the weight of tiny flakes; Pickthall equates each flake to white flowers ready to bloom, inspire and enwrap. The first two stanzas of the poem are musically set in a similar way using a “verse-chorus” form from popular music. The final stanza is set in a more delicate, floating style.

Text:

O, The white flowers,
How they float, how they follow
Down from the hillside and up from the hollow. When the wind calls them they answer in showers, So shining, so tender,
Rose-rounded and leaf-slender,
They ring me, they wreathe me wherever I go.
O, the white flowers,
The flowers of the snow.

O, the white stars,
They have dawned, they have drifted
Like dust the wind strawed and the Mary-moon sifted, Through the briar-berry bent to the cedar-wood bars.
So soft, so unbounded.
Flame-pointed, rose-rounded,
They have clung, they have swung where the branches are low. O, the white stars,
The stars of the snow.

O, the white dreams,
How they kiss, how they quiver,
The weft of the cloud and the woof of the river,
Where the elder-tree shadows the sleep of her streams.
They lead me, they linger,
Frost-foot and mist-finger,
Saying, Hands, would you hold us, and Heart, would you know All the white dreams,
The dreams of the snow?


snow dreams sample score pages