As Time Stops To Rest is a three-movement song cycle for SSAATTBB Choir and Piano, with featured soprano and tenor soloists. The cycle is dedicated to the composer’s late aunt Susan Jordan. The works sets three poems from a larger set of poetry entitled As Time Stops To Rest, also written by Susan Jordan. The song cycle has an overall arch form of peace followed by tragedy and loss, ultimately giving way to a final sense of peace.

The first movement, Two Friends, paints a peaceful scene of two friends losing track of time as they sit by the ocean enjoying their time together. The piece opens with serene rolled chords in the piano, which continue throughout almost the entirety of the movement. The constant rolling of the piano creates a sense of ocean waves continuously ebbing and flowing. The opening tenor solo describes the tranquil setting and is then joined by the full choir as “warmth and happiness intermix to form an afternoon shared by two close friends”. The movement features lush harmonies and detailed ensemble interplay. The movement concludes with the continued rolled chords in the piano and a final soft low cluster, as if the texture is sinking into the ocean.

The second movement, Storm’s End, opens with violent and flurried storm-like arpeggios in the piano, in stark contrast to the peaceful character of Two Friends. The tenors and basses open with a rigid imitative texture asserting how “the storm raged across the bliss field”. The piano then mimics raindrops falling more and more violently before finally giving way to a calmer texture. After the “storm” has ended, the full choir enters in a mostly homophonic, hymn-like texture describing an overwhelming peace that sometimes follows after an intense tragedy or loss. The piece climaxes on the words “day” and “fire”, alluding to the feeling of being in love with one’s life despite (and perhaps because of) the pain and suffering one has endured.

The third and final movement, Magic, describes how the narrator senses the closeness of “the spirit kingdom” all around him or her, but only has fleeting glimpses of it. The piece opens with an a cappella dialogue between the altos and tenors, who are then joined by the sopranos and basses. The a cappella opening features lush and tightly packed harmonies that lead to a soprano soloist cueing in a lyrical piano arpeggio. The piece then builds to the joyous climax of the whole song cycle: “But oh, for a moment I grow flowers with my hands!”, alluding to how powerful and wondrous these brief glimpses of the spirit kingdom are. The texture then drops down to lulling a cappella chords in the lower voices as two featured soprano soloists “dance on wings uplifted”. The narrator then finally enters “the kingdom of all” he or she has been sensing, possibly through death. The movement concludes peacefully as the narrator “enter[s] the kingdom of all and AM”. The piano concludes with a peaceful postlude recalling motives used throughout the movement.

This song cycle would be suitable for an advanced high school, college, or professional choir. The movements may be performed as stand-alone pieces or as part of the full cycle.

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My Candle Burns at Both The Ends is a bittersweet poem by Emily Dickinson describing a narrator who gives so much of him or herself that he or she will burn out quickly but still believes it is worth it. The poignant musical setting of the poem would be perfect for a middle school or high school all-female choir.

It can stand alone or may be paired with If I Can Stop One Heart From Breaking, also by Dickinson, to form a short song cycle.

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If I Can Stop One Heart From Breaking is a poignant poem written by Emily Dickinson about the good one individual can do through their actions. This heartfelt musical setting of the poem would be perfect for a middle school or high school all-female choir.

It can stand alone or may be paired with My Candle Burns at Both the Ends, also by Dickinson, to form a short song cycle.

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“Storm’s End” (the second movement of the choral song cycle As Time Stops To Rest) opens with violent and flurried storm-like arpeggios in the piano, in stark contrast to the peaceful character of “Two Friends”. The tenors and basses open with a rigid imitative texture asserting how “the storm raged across the bliss field”. The piano then mimics raindrops falling more and more violently before finally giving way to a calmer texture. After the “storm” has ended, the full choir enters in a mostly homophonic, hymn-like texture describing an overwhelming peace that sometimes follows after an intense tragedy or loss. The piece climaxes on the words “day” and “fire”, alluding to the feeling of being in love with one’s life despite (and perhaps because of) the pain and suffering one has endured.

As Time Stops To Rest is a three-movement song cycle for SSAATTBB Choir and Piano, with featured soprano and tenor soloists. The cycle is dedicated to the composer’s late aunt Susan Jordan. The works sets three poems from a larger set of poetry entitled As Time Stops To Rest, also written by Susan Jordan. The song cycle has an overall arch form of peace followed by tragedy and loss, ultimately giving way to a final sense of peace.

Storm’s End may be performed as part of the song cycle or as a stand-alone piece.

Also see the first movement Two Friends and the third movement Magic.

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Lorem Ipsum is an a cappella piece for SATB, with occasional divisi. The text of Lorem Ipsum originates from the non-sense Latin used as filler text in media design, such as newspaper and newsletter templates. The non-sense Latin is a useful way for designers to see how the layout will look with text, without the distraction of real words.

 

“Lorem Ipsum” sets this Latin text in a chant-like fashion, reminiscent of Gregorian chants containing actual Latin text. The voices weave in and out of each other, creating rich and surprising harmonies. This piece plays with the juxtaposition of ancient-sounding Latin combined with modern, tight choral harmonies.

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A Boat Beneath A Sunny Sky is the closing poem of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The first letter of every line of text spells out the name Alice Pleasance Liddell, whom Carroll was (scandalously) very close to and was said to have inspired his book. The musical setting of the poem captures the wonder of childhood but also the dark nostalgia that accompanies the passage of time.

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