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