Night Piece is part of a cycle of ten art songs on poems by James Joyce that I wrote during the winter and spring of 2019.
It begins as a reverent, if not haunting, portrait of “night’s sin-dark nave.” Replete with ecclesiastical imagery, this subdued meditation swells into a tender exultation of the night sky with soaring melodies and lush harmonies. Joyce’s characteristic neologisms abound: A star-knell tolls as upsoaring clouds surge voidward, high above the “adoring waste of souls.”
I later arranged Night Piece, along with Strings in the Earth and Air and Bahnhofstrasse—for SATB chorus with high voice solo and piano accompaniment for the Washington Master Chorale's 10th Anniversary Season opening concert. They premiered on October 27, 2019 at the Church of the Epiphany in Washington, D.C. under the direction of my friend Thomas Colohan, artistic director of the Chorale.
Night Piece is also available as part of three compilations:
Gaunt in gloom
The pale stars their torches,
Ghost-fires from heaven's far verges faint illume—
Arches on soaring arches—
Night's sin-dark nave.
The lost hosts awaken
To service, till
In moonless gloom each lapses, muted, dim,
Raised when she has and shaken
And long and loud
To night's nave upsoaring,
A star-knell tolls—
As the bleak incense surges, cloud on cloud,
Voidward from the adoring
Waste of souls.
YEAR OF COMPOSITION
High Voice Solo and Piano
Medium Voice Solo and Piano
SATB Chorus and Piano
SATB Chorus (unaccompanied)
American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP)
PURCHASE SHEET MUSIC
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