And the Night Will Shine as Day

Instrumentation: Soprano and organ
Duration: 6:00
Premiere: 4/22/88
Priscilla Little, soprano, Linda Hanson, organist
Westminster Church, Charlottesville, VA

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Program Note:
And the Night Will Shine as Day is based on Psalm 139 as translated in Psalms Anew (St. Mary’s Press) by Sisters Maureen Leach and Nancy Schreck, who kindly gave permission for its use. The portions of text I chose to set deal with the encompassing and comforting nature of God and the guiding aspects of faith. The music seeks to envelop the meaning of the text, with numerous instances of word painting. Listen, for example, to the musical settings of ‘flew to the point of sunrise,’ or ‘sink to Sheol.’ Subtler representation includes the registral hollowness of the sound prior to the words ‘God search me.’ The harmonic structure is also organized around the textual meaning, with the darker chordal motion of the opening transformed into a more radiant consonance at the close.

This piece was composed in memory of Mary Leigh Walker for soprano Priscilla Little and organist Linda Hanson. I am grateful to the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville, Virginia, which kindly allowed me use of its fine tracker-action organ during the compositional process. ―Judith Shatin

(Cover image by Federico Di Dio photography on Unsplash)

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