The Mount 5:540:00 / 5:54
Dedicated to my dear friend, Metropolitan Opera soprano Danielle Talamantes, The Mount was commissioned by The Casement Fund through its Triad Grant. It is awarded annually to three artists: a vocalist, who in turn selects a composer and a lyricist to write an original composition for voice solo.
Danielle, choral conductor and poet Mark Riddles and I were the 2015 award recipients. The Mount made its world premiere on November 15, 2015 at the historic Episcopal Church of the Holy Trinity in New York City.
The text draws its inspiration from the mystical vision of the Transfiguration recounted in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. The ecumenical spirit of the text may also draw the listener to another dramatic setting from the Hebrew Bible—Mount Horeb, on which Moses is said to have received the Ten Commandments.
The elegant melodic line and Phrygian dominant scales evoke the chants of Jewish liturgical music. At The Mount's climax midway through the piece, the vocal line soars above the accompaniment's sweeping arpeggios, then shifts to a lyric pianissimo as it elucidates Riddles' beautiful verse.
I wrote an orchestral expansion of The Mount in the fall of 2016. It premiered on October 23, 2016 at the Manchester Symphony Orchestra's opening concert of its 78th season. It featured Danielle singing the solo with artistic director Scott Humphries conducting.
Enshrouded, the Mount promises a gift of vision that enlarges sight.
Sensing this, I catch my breath
which soon escapes and moves urgently upwards.
My soul, following, flees from deep within my heart.
The meeting of sky and Mount is covered.
I enter through a funnel
Of warmth and mist,
Of light and love.
Caressed by the knowing of divine love,
I am conjoined with all who have come before
And those who will come after.
At its peak is the Mount’s blessing received:
The peace of union.
I am alive with all and at one with all.
I now withdraw to be at one with the world.
Mark Riddles, b. 1950
YEAR OF COMPOSITION
High Voice Solo and Orchestra
High Voice Solo and Piano
American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP)
PURCHASE SHEET MUSIC
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