I’m very happy to report that Bridge Records will be issuing a new CD of my music in early 2014. The disc, to be called Sacred Songs, will bring together four of my pieces for voice and ensemble:
– From a Book of Hours sets four poems of Rainer Maria Rilke in German.
– Four Sacred Songs comprises arrangements of old traditional sacred melodies – plainchant as well as metered tunes – with Latin texts.
– Dark the Star brings together texts by Philadelphia-based poet Susan Stewart, Rilke (in German), and a verse from the Psalms (in Latin).
– Holy the Firm sets texts by three American women – Denise Levertov, Annie Dillard, and Susan Stewart – as well as John Climacus, a monk of the 7th century Sinai desert.
While I am very grateful for every CD of my music, (visit the discography page to get the details on how much I have to be grateful for), this new Bridge project is especially meaningful to me. This is partly because it is the first disc devoted entirely to my vocal music, a medium that has been a major preoccupation of mine in the last two decades. It also documents an especially long-standing relationship with performers who have been among the most consistent advocates of my music. In fact, I think that over a period of more than three decades, Christopher Kendall has conducted and/or programmed my music more than any other musician anywhere!
There is a lot more to say about this album – the pieces, the performers, the process of recording with Curt Wittig and editing with George Blood, the booklet essays by Susan Stewart and John Harbison, and I will be writing about these things in future posts. For now I will leave you with the photo above. This is the interior of St. Henry’s Ecumenical Art Chapel, designed by the firm of Sanaksenaho Architects, and photographed by Jussi Tiainen. This powerful image will be used for the cover of the booklet accompanying Sacred Songs.