29. November 2015 · Comments Off on Sunday Evening Music · Categories: Sunday Evening Music

Ola Gjeilo: Luminous Night of the Soul
Vlaams Radio Koor; Nicolas André, Conductor; Jolien De Gendt, Soprano; Ola Gjeilo, Piano; Brussels Philharmonic Soloists

Text by Charles Anthony Silvestri and St. John of the Cross

Note from the composer:
“Set to a new text by Charles Anthony Silvestri as well as a stanza from St. John of the Cross’ poem used in the predecessor to this piece, Luminous Night of the Soul is the sequel to Dark Night of the Soul, which was published in 2011. Both works are independent pieces that can be performed separately, but they are also conceived as two movements of the same work. Dark Night and Luminous Night are influenced by a wish to feature the piano more heavily in choral music, not just as generic, unassuming accompaniment, but as an equal partner to the choir, aided and supported by the string quartet. Though most of all, I just wanted to find ways to compose lush, warm, symphonic- sounding music, while still only scoring for five instruments, in addition to the choir.”

Long before music was sung by a choir,
Long before silver was shaped in the fire,
Long before poets inspired the heart,
You were the Spirit of all that is art.

You give the potter the feel of the clay;
You give the actor the right part to play;
You give the author a story to tell;
You are the prayer in the sound of a bell.

Praise to all lovers who feel your desire!
Praise to all music which soars to inspire!
Praise to the wonders of Thy artistry
Our Divine Spirit, all glory to Thee.

O guiding night!
O night more lovely than the dawn!
O night that has united
The Lover with his beloved, Transforming the beloved in her Lover.

29. November 2015 · Comments Off on Sunday Morning Music · Categories: Sunday Morning Music

Ola Gjeilo: Dark Night of the Soul
Central Washington University Chamber Choir; Gary Weidenaar, Director; Ola Gjeilo, Piano, Kairos String Quartet

Note from the composer and text:

“Dark Night of the Soul was written in 2010, and premiered that year by the Phoenix Chorale. The text, three stanzas from St. John of the Cross’ (1542-1592) magical poem Dark Night of the Soul, was suggested to me by the Executive Director of the Phoenix Chorale at the time, and I fell in love with its passionate spirituality right away”

One dark night,
fired with love’s urgent longings
– ah, the sheer grace! –
I went out unseen,
my house being now all stilled.

In darkness, and secure,
by the secret ladder, disguised,
– ah, the sheer grace! –
in darkness and concealment,
my house being now all stilled.

On that glad night,
in secret, for no one saw me,
nor did I look at anything,
with no other light or guide
than the one that burned in my heart.

One of the things I wanted to do in this piece was to make the choir and piano fairly equal, as if in a dialogue; often the piano is accompanying the choir, but sometimes the choir is accompanying the piano (or violin) as well, with the choir kind of taking the role of a soft, but rich “string orchestra” texture. I just love the sound of voices humming chords, it creates a sound that can be so evocative and warm, especially when doubled by a string quartet. To me, that sound combination has a similar effect to a beautiful synth pad, only it feels more organic and alive.