Sweet Harmony

Instrumentation: Soprano and piano
Duration: 1:30
Premiere: 4/13/08
Cathedral Choral Society Gala
Washington, DC

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Program Note:
When Cathedral Choral Society gala chair, and my dear friend, Connie Tasker, first approached me about composing a piece as part of the Angel of the Arts Award for Bitsey Folger and Sidney Werkman, I immediately thought of setting a text that related to music. And of course, since this is an award by the outstanding Cathedral Choral Society, led by J. Reilly Lewis, the weaving together of text and music was especially important. As part of my research, I decided to see if a Shakespeare reference to music might fit. And when I found the following text, from Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, 5.1.63-66, I knew I had found my answer:

“How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank! / Here we will sit, and let the sounds of music / Creep in our ears; soft stillness and the night / Become the touches of sweet harmony.”

In discussion with Maestro Lewis, we decided on a setting for soprano and piano. I dedicate this piece to Bitsey Folger and Sidney Werkman, in appreciation of their dedication to and support of the arts. –JS

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