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Julia Armstrong, a lawyer and professional mezzo-soprano living in Austin, Texas. She wanted to commission a choral work from me that would be premiered by the Austin ProChorus Kinley Lange, cond. The circumstances around the commission were certainly memorable.
I was deeply moved by her spirit and her request, and agreed to take on the commission. I took my time with the piece, crafting it note by note until I felt that it was exactly the way I wanted it.
The poem is perfect, truly a gem, and my general approach was to try to get out of the way of the words and let them work their magic. We premiered the piece in Austin, October , and the piece was well received. Rene Clausen gave it a glorious performance at the ACDA National Convention in the spring of , and soon after I began receiving letters, emails, and phone calls from conductors trying to get a hold of the work.
And here was my tragic mistake: I never secured permission to use the poem. When I looked online and saw all of these new and different settings, I naturally and naively assumed that it was open to anyone.
Little did I know that the Robert Frost Estate had shut down ANY use of the poem just months before, ostensibly because of this plethora of new settings. I was crushed. The piece was dead, and would sit under my bed for the next 37 years because of some ridiculous ruling by heirs and lawyers. Tony wrote an absolutely exquisite poem, finding a completely different but equally beautiful message in the music I had already written.
At this point in time, Eric does not plan on releasing the work with the original text. The Text The evening hangs beneath the moon, A silver thread on darkened dune. With closing eyes and resting head I know that sleep is coming soon. Upon my pillow, safe in bed, A thousand pictures fill my head. If there are noises in the night, A frightening shadow, flickering light, Then I surrender unto sleep, Where clouds of dream give second sight, What dreams may come, both dark and deep, Of flying wings and soaring leap As I surrender unto sleep, As I surrender unto sleep.
Charles Anthony Silvestri, b.
ERIC WHITACRE WITH A LILY IN YOUR HAND PDF
Julia Armstrong, a lawyer and professional mezzo-soprano living in Austin, Texas. She wanted to commission a choral work from me that would be premiered by the Austin ProChorus Kinley Lange, cond. The circumstances around the commission were certainly memorable. I was deeply moved by her spirit and her request, and agreed to take on the commission. I took my time with the piece, crafting it note by note until I felt that it was exactly the way I wanted it.
With a Lily in Your Hand
At the time I was interested only in synthesizers and Depeche Mode, and so I auditioned as a music major because it seemed the best thing to do before I hit the big time. And then I joined the choir. David Weiller , the choral conductor at UNLV, auditioned me to sing in one of his groups and graciously accepted me into the big University chorus. I distinctly remember how weird I thought the choir people were, with their embarrassing stretches and warm-ups, and undoubtedly the only reason I stayed in class that first week was because there were so many cute girls in the soprano section. It was like seeing color for the first time, and I was regularly moved to tears during rehearsals, crushed by the impossible beauty of the work. I became a choral geek of the highest magnitude, I mean I lived for rehearsals and performances, and through it all there was David Weiller.