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Mixed Chorus

All choral works are published by Inkjar Publishing Company.
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  • Celestial Canticles (2016) 10’30”• SATB (div.) a cappella
    The Boston Choral Ensemble will premiere the piece in May 2017. BCE has exclusive performing rights until July 1, 2017, after which any choir can purchase and perform it. BCE has exclusive recording rights until July 1, 2018.

    PROGRAM NOTES
    Celestial Canticles celebrates the wondrous universe above us through the eyes of three poets. In Cloths of Heaven, W.B. Yeats tells his love that he wished he possessed the richness of the heavens to put under her feet. In The Galaxy, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow contemplates the Milky Way. He accomplishes this by alluding to the Milky Way in a set of descriptive terms: torrent, river, sands, ravine, streams, channels, pathway, and chasms. Longfellow also makes two additional references. The first is El Camino de Santiago (or “The Way of St. James”), a popular Christian pilgrimage point in Spain, where the body of the Apostle St. James is said to be buried: pilgrims used the Milky Way to guide their path. The second is Phaeton in Greek mythology: he begs his father Helios (the sun god) to let him drive the sun-chariot across the sky, but when given the reins, he loses control of the horses and scorches the sky. The choral set concludes with William Wordsworth’s The Universal Spectacle Throughout in which Wordsworth admires the beauty and depth of the heavens. Celestial Canticles was commissioned by the Boston Choral Ensemble.
    -S.G.

    TEXTS

    I. Cloths Of Heaven
    W.B. Yeats 

    Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
    Enwrought with golden and silver light,
    The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
    Of night and light and the half-light,
    I would spread the cloths under your feet:
    But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
    I have spread my dreams under your feet;
    Tread softly because you tread on my dreams. 

    II. The Galaxy
    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    Torrent of light and river of the air,
    Along whose bed the glimmering stars are seen
    Like gold and silver sands in some ravine
    Where mountain streams have left their channels bare!
    The Spaniard sees in thee the pathway, where
    His patron saint descended in the sheen
    Of his celestial armor on serene
    And quiet nights, when all the heavens were fair.
    Not this I see, nor yet the ancient fable
    Of Phaeton's wild course, that scorched the skies
    Where'er the hoofs of his hot coursers trod;
    But the white drift of worlds o'er chasms of sable,
    The star dust, that is whirled aloft and flies
    From the invisible chariot-wheels of God.



    III. The Universal Spectacle Throughout
    William Wordsworth

    The universal spectacle throughout
    Was shaped for admiration and delight,
    Grand in itself alone, but in that breach
    Through which the homeless voice of waters rose,
    That dark deep thoroughfare, had Nature lodged
    The soul, the imagination of the whole.

  • Give Me Hunger (2013) 6’45” • SATB (div.) a cappella

    VIDEO
    (men’s chorus version)
    Chanticleer
    Recording at Mariinksy Theatre, Saint Petersburg, Russia, 1/30/14
    CD available from
    Chanticleer Records on She Said/He Said, Chanticleer Records CLIC010
    Purchase recording
    Commissioned by Chanticleer for their "She Said/He Said" touring program

    ORDERING SCORES
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    Perusal score

    PROGRAM NOTES
    Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) was an American author known for his hard, unflinching observations that allow readers to experience Sandburg’s pride, distain, love, hatred, and sympathy for humanity through his works. In particular, his poetry grasps the best and worst of mankind, from the noblest aspirations of man to the subjugation of the poor, as well as to the trials and tribulations of the working class. Very few poems exhibit his softer side, and even fewer reflect his thoughts on love.  At a Window (the poem’s original title) is one of these rare gems in his body of work. Sandburg starts the poem angrily, challenging the forces that control the universe to take away all that he has; this anger quickly gives way to a surprising gentleness as he asks for love in place of all else. In my piece (titled Give Me Hunger, drawn from the first line of text), I reflect Sandburg’s enraged voice with a relentless ostinato (a repeating gesture) coupled with dissonant chords; for the poem’s softer side, I employ rich, lush harmonies to anticipate the "coming of a little love." This piece was commissioned by Chanticleer.
    -S.G.

  • Hava Nagila (2007) 3’50” • SATB (div.) a cappella

    AUDIO
    Excerpt performed by Chicago a cappella
    From Days of Awe and Rejoicing
    Chicago
    a cappella Records CAC 2006
    Available from
    Chicago a cappella Records
    Used by permission. All rights reserved.
    Purchase recording
    Commissioned by Chicago a cappella

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
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    Perusal score

    PROGRAM NOTES
    When Jonathan Miller asked me to write two pieces for Chicago a cappella, I knew right away that I wanted to choose two songs from my own past. Hava Nagila, a celebratory song full of joy, is the first of two Hebrew works (the other is the more somber text of Lo Yisa Goy, a prayer for peace). Shortly before composing this piece, I attended the Bat Mitzvah of one of my cousins. The Bat Mitzvah was held in a reformed synagogue, and the service utilized quite a bit of “new age” music in place of more traditional tunes. So it was a wonderful surprise when the moment came for the Torah to be removed from its cabinet and paraded around the congregation. Not only did the rabbi and cantor sing a very old, traditional song, but the entire congregation broke out in a unexpected celebration, accompanying the torah’s passage around the synagogue with clapping, dancing, and singing. I wanted to capture that joyous moment in my rendition of Hava Nagila.
    -S.G.

    TEXT

    Hava nagila, hava nagila
    Hava nagila ve-nis'mecha

    Hava neranena, hava neranena
    Hava neranena venis'mecha

    Uru, uru achim
    Uru achim belev same'ach.

    TRANSLATION

    Let us rejoice, let us rejoice
    Let us rejoice and be glad

    Let us sing, let us sing
    Let us sing and be glad

    Awaken, awaken brethren
    Awaken brethren with a cheerful heart.

  • Love's Philosophy (2011) 8’40” • SATB (div.) a cappella
    Movement 1:
    Love's Philosophy
    Movement 3:
    Give me women, wine, and snuff
    Movement 2:
    Desire
    Movement 4:
    So, we'll go no more a roving

    AUDIO
    Performed by the Wicker Park Choral Singers; Mark Tomasino, conductor
    Commissioned by
    Cantori

    ORDERING SCORES
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    PROGRAM NOTES
    Love’s Philosophy explores concepts of love through the eyes of four English poets, all of whom contributed to the ideals of the Romantic movement which emphasized revolutionary thought and imagination over traditional practices and reason. In these four poems, Percy Bysshe Shelley teasingly addresses flirtation, Samuel Taylor Coleridge writes of desire, John Keats heartily endorses lust and merry-making, and Lord George Gordon Byron lingers on the loss of love. This piece was commissioned by Robert Cowles and the Hobart and William Smith Colleges vocal ensemble Cantori.
    -S.G.

    TEXTS


    I. Love’s Philosophy
    Percy Bysshe Shelley
    The fountains mingle with the river
    And the rivers with the ocean,
    The winds of Heaven mix for ever
    With a sweet emotion;
    Nothing in the world is single,
    All things by a law divine
    In one spirit meet and mingle -
    Why not I with thine?

    See the mountains kiss high Heaven
    And the waves clasp one another;
    No sister-flower would be forgiven
    If it disdained its brother;
    And the sunlight clasps the earth,
    And the moonbeams kiss the sea -
    What are all these kissings worth
    If thou kiss not me?

    II. Desire
    Samuel Taylor Coleridge
    Where true Love burns Desire is Love’s pure flame;
    It is the reflex of our earthly frame,
    That takes its meaning from the nobler part,
    And but translates the language of the heart.



    III. Give me women, wine, and snuff
    John Keats
    Give me women, wine, and snuff
    Untill I cry out “hold, enough!”
    You may do so sans objection
    Till the day of resurrection:
    For, bless my beard, they aye shall be
    My beloved Trinity.

    IV. So, we'll go no more a roving
    Lord George Gordon Byron
    So, we’ll go no more a roving
    So late into the night,
    Though the heart be still as loving,
    And the moon be still as bright.

    For the sword outwears its sheath,
    And the soul wears out the breast,
    And the heart must pause to breathe,
    And love itself have rest.

    Though the night was made for loving,
    And the day returns too soon,
    Yet we’ll go no more a roving
    By the light of the moon.

  • Lo Yisa Goy (2007) 5’ • SATB (div.) a cappella

    VIDEO
    The DC-based, all-star professional choir The Thirteen, under the direction of Matthew Robertson, performs Stacy Garrop's "Lo Yisa Goy." Recorded live and unedited on October 14, 2017 at St. Columba's Church, Washington, D.C.
    Commissioned by Chicago a cappella

    ORDERING SCORES
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    Perusal score

    PROGRAM NOTES
    When Jonathan Miller asked me to write two pieces for Chicago a cappella, I knew right away that I wanted to choose two songs from my own past. The first piece, Hava Nagila, is a celebratory song full of joy. I wanted the second work to contrast the first, and to this end, I chose the somber text of Lo Yisa Goy, a prayer for peace. I remember singing this song as a young child in Hebrew school and synagogue, in the context (at least in my congregation) of praying for the state of Israel. I think we’re at a particular point in which people in a lot of different nations could use such a prayer. For this reason, you’ll hear the words in both Hebrew and English. In my research of previous versions of the melody, I discovered three variants for the tune, all of which I have incorporated into my piece.
    -S.G.

    TEXT
    Lo yisa goy el goy cherev
    Lo yilm’du od milchama.


    And they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
    and their spears into pruning hooks:
    nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.

    But they shall sit every man under his vine
    and under his fig tree;
    and none shall make them afraid:
    for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it.

    V’eyn machrid.

  • Songs of Lowly Life (2011) 14’ • SATB (div.) a cappella
    Movement 1: Dawn
    (excerpt)
    Movement 3: Not They Who Soar
    (excerpt)
    Movement 2: Life
    (full)
    Movement 4: Lullaby
    (excerpt)
    Movement 5: Old
    (excerpt)

    AUDIO
    All excerpts performed by Volti; Robert Geary, conductor
    Commissioned by Volti

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
    Click here to email Inkjar for purchasing options
    Perusal score

    PROGRAM NOTES
    When Volti commissioned me for a new choral piece, I seized the opportunity to feature the poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar. Dunbar was the first African-American poet and novelist to gain national and international recognition. Born in Dayton, Ohio in 1872, his mother was a former slave and his father had escaped from slavery prior to serving in the 55th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment and the 5th Massachusetts Colored Cavalry Regiment during the Civil War. Dunbar began writing poetry as a child and published his first book of poems, called Oak and Ivy, when he was twenty. This was followed by eleven additional books of poetry, four books of short stories, five novels, and a play. The subject matter of Dunbar’s poems encompasses a wide array of topics, from his observations of nature, love, and life to his renditions (many of which are written in dialect) of African American life. Dunbar’s life was ultimately cut short when he contracted tuberculosis and died at the age of 33 in 1906. The title for my song cycle is taken from Dunbar’s 1896 book Lyrics of Lowly Life, from which several of these texts were drawn. Five poems are set in this piece: Dawn, Life, Not They Who Soar, Lullaby, and Old.
    -S.G.

    TEXTS

    I. Dawn
    An angel, robed in spotless white,
    Bent down and kissed the sleeping Night.
    Night woke to blush; the sprite was gone.
    Men saw the blush and called it Dawn.

    II. Life
    A crust of bread and a corner to sleep in,
    A minute to smile and an hour to weep in,
    A pint of joy to a peck of trouble,
    And never a laugh but the moans come double;
    And that is life!

    A crust and a corner that love makes precious,
    With the smile to warm and the tears to re-fresh us;
    And joy seems sweeter when cares come after,
    And a moan is the finest of foils for laughter;
    And that is life!

    III. Not They Who Soar
    Not they who soar, but they who plod
    Their rugged way, unhelped, to God
    Are heroes; they who higher fare,
    And, flying, fan the upper air,
    Miss all the toil that hugs the sod.
    'Tis they whose backs have felt the rod,
    Whose feet have pressed the path unshod,
    May smile upon defeated care,
    Not they who soar.

    High up there are no thorns to prod,
    Nor boulders lurking 'neath the clod
    To turn the keenness of the share,
    For flight is ever free and rare;
    But heroes they the soil who've trod,
    Not they who soar!



    IV. Lullaby
    Sing me, sweet, a soothing psalm,
    Holy, tender, low, and calm,
    Full of drowsy words and dreamy,
    Sleep half seen where the sides are seamy;
    Lay my head upon your breast;
    Sing me to rest.

    V. Old I have seen peoples come and go
    Alike the Ocean'd ebb and flow;
    I have seen kingdoms rise and fall
    Like springtime shadows on a wall.
    I have seen houses rendered great
    That grew from life's debased estate,
    And all, all, all is change I see,
    So, dearest God, take me, take me.

  • Sonnets of Beauty and Music (2006) 7’ • SATB (div.) a cappella
    Movement 1: Still will I harvest beauty where it grows
    (excerpt)
    Movement 2: On Hearing a Symphony of Beethoven
    (excerpt)

    AUDIO
    Excerpts performed by Volti; Robert Geary, conductor
    From Turn the Page
    Innova 759
    Available from
    Innova Records
    Used by permission. All rights reserved.
    Purchase recording
    Commissioned by Volti

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
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    Perusal score

    PROGRAM NOTES
    Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950) was an American poet who produced a great body of work in her lifetime. Among her works are several books of poetry, essays, plays, an opera libretto, and over two hundred sonnets. The sonnets cover a vast range of topics including love, loss, beauty, music, death, war, science, legendary figures, and the end of humanity. Beautifully constructed, I find that many of Millay’s sonnets are well suited to be set to music. From 2000-2006, I set sixteen of her sonnets for a cappella choir, arranged into six sonnet sets.

    Sonnets of Beauty and Music focuses on finding beauty in unexpected beauty, as well as the role music played for Millay.
    -S.G.

  • Sonnets of Desire, Longing, and Whimsy (2004) 8’40” • SATB (div.) a cappella
    Movement 1: Now by this moon, before this moon shall wane
    (excerpt)
    Movement 3: I shall forget you presently, my dear
    (excerpt)
    Movement 2: Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
    (excerpt)

    AUDIO
    Excerpts performed by the Grant Park Chorus
    Christopher Bell, conductor
    From
    Songs of Smaller Creatures, Cedille Records CDR 90000 131
    Available from
    Cedille Records
    Used by permission. All rights reserved.
    Purchase recording
    Commissioned by Volti

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
    Click here to email Inkjar for purchasing options
    Perusal score

    PROGRAM NOTES
    Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950) was an American poet who produced a great body of work in her lifetime. Among her works are several books of poetry, essays, plays, an opera libretto, and over two hundred sonnets. The sonnets cover a vast range of topics including love, loss, beauty, music, death, war, science, legendary figures, and the end of humanity. Beautifully constructed, I find that many of Millay’s sonnets are well suited to be set to music. From 2000-2006, I set sixteen of her sonnets for a cappella choir, arranged into six sonnet sets.

    Sonnets of Desire, Longing, and Whimsy
    explores three aspects of love: unrequited passion, the ache after a breakup, and flirtation.
    -S.G.

  • Sonnets of the Fatal Interview (2005) 14’ • SATB (div.) a cappella
    Movement 1: This beast that rends me
    (excerpt)
    Movement 3: Hearing your words
    (excerpt)
    Movement 2: Since of no creature living
    (excerpt)
    Movement 4: I know my mind
    (excerpt)

    AUDIO
    Excerpts performed by Ensemble of the North
    Patrick McDonough, conductor
    Commissioned by Ensemble of the North

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
    Click here to email Inkjar for purchasing options
    Perusal score

    PROGRAM NOTES
    Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950) was an American poet who produced a great body of work in her lifetime. Among her works are several books of poetry, essays, plays, an opera libretto, and over two hundred sonnets. The sonnets cover a vast range of topics including love, loss, beauty, music, death, war, science, legendary figures, and the end of humanity. Beautifully constructed, I find that many of Millay’s sonnets are well suited to be set to music. From 2000-2006, I set sixteen of her sonnets for a cappella choir, arranged into six sonnet sets.

    “By our first strange and fatall interview,
    By all desires which thereof did ensue,”
    -John Donne

    These words are found at the beginning of
    The Fatal Interview, a book of sonnets written in 1931 by Millay. While married to Eugene Boissevain, Millay had a long-term love affair with George Dillon, a poet who was fourteen years her junior. This affair inspired her to write the fifty two sonnets that comprise The Fatal Interview; John Donne’s poetry aptly describes the sparks that flew after Millay and Dillon first met.

    In
    Sonnets of the Fatal Interview, I set four sonnets that outline the curve of Millay’s and Dillon’s relationship. This beast that rends me (mvmt. 1) shows Millay’s desire for Dillon; Since of no creature (mvmt. 2) living illustrates her deep love for him; Hearing your words (mvmt. 3) and I know my mind (mvmt. 4) trace her decision to break off the affair with Dillon and return to her husband.
    -S.G.


  • Sonnets of Love and Chaos (2001) 8’ • SATB (div.) a cappella
    Movement 1: What lips my lips have kissed
    (excerpt)
    Movement 2: I will put chaos into fourteen lines
    (excerpt)

    AUDIO
    Mvmt. 1 Performed by Chicago a cappella
    Mvmt. 2 Performed by Volti; Robert Geary, conductor
    Commissioned by the Dale Warland Singers

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
    Click here to email Inkjar for purchasing options
    Perusal score

    PROGRAM NOTES
    Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950) was an American poet who produced a great body of work in her lifetime. Among her works are several books of poetry, essays, plays, an opera libretto, and over two hundred sonnets. The sonnets cover a vast range of topics including love, loss, beauty, music, death, war, science, legendary figures, and the end of humanity. Beautifully constructed, I find that many of Millay’s sonnets are well suited to be set to music. From 2000-2006, I set sixteen of her sonnets for a cappella choir, arranged into six sonnet sets.

    In the first movement of
    Sonnets of Love and Chaos, Millay reminisces about her past loves, while in the second movement, she muses how to contain chaos within the fourteen lines of a sonnet's structure.
    -S.G.

  • Sonnets of Vanity, Loss, and Rapture (2001) 9’30” • SATB (div.) a cappella
    Movement 1: Oh, think not I am faithful to a vow!
    (excerpt)
    Movement 3: When we are old
    (excerpt)
    Movement 2: The thought of you comes to destroy me
    (excerpt)

    AUDIO
    Excerpts performed by the Murray State University Choir
    Bradley Almquist, conductor

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
    Click here to email Inkjar for purchasing options
    Perusal score

    PROGRAM NOTES
    Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950) was an American poet who produced a great body of work in her lifetime. Among her works are several books of poetry, essays, plays, an opera libretto, and over two hundred sonnets. The sonnets cover a vast range of topics including love, loss, beauty, music, death, war, science, legendary figures, and the end of humanity. Beautifully constructed, I find that many of Millay’s sonnets are well suited to be set to music. From 2000-2006, I set sixteen of her sonnets for a cappella choir, arranged into six sonnet sets.

    Sonnets of Vanity, Loss, and Rapture explores three aspects of love (flirtation, obsession, and rapture) as expressed by a very passionate woman.
    -S.G.

  • Sonnets of War and Mankind (2003) 8’30” • SATB (div.) a cappella
    Movement I: See how these masses mill and swarm
    (excerpt)
    Movement II: Epitaph for the Race of Man
    (excerpt)

    AUDIO
    Excerpts performed by Volti; Robert Geary, conductor
    Commissioned by Volti

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
    Click here to email Inkjar for purchasing options
    Perusal score

    PROGRAM NOTES
    Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950) was an American poet who produced a great body of work in her lifetime. Among her works are several books of poetry, essays, plays, an opera libretto, and over two hundred sonnets. The sonnets cover a vast range of topics including love, loss, beauty, music, death, war, science, legendary figures, and the end of humanity. Beautifully constructed, I find that many of Millay’s sonnets are well suited to be set to music. From 2000-2006, I set sixteen of her sonnets for a cappella choir, arranged into six sonnet sets.

    Sonnets of War and Mankind ruminates on Millay's thoughts of war and what will lead to the end of man.
    -S.G.

  • The Want of Peace (2014) 5’30” • SATB, pno or string orchestra
    ORDERING SCORES
    The piece will be available in 2017. Please email Inkjar for more information.

    PROGRAM NOTES
    The Want of Peace is from the oratorio Terra Nostra, with text by the agrarian living poet Wendell Berry. Commissioned by the San Francisco Choral Society in collaboration with the Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir.

    The chorus & string orchestra version is online. Click on the score below to view on issuu.com.
    A version for chorus & piano is forthcoming.
    Stacks Image 6007

  • Veni, Veni Emmanuel (2009) 4’40” • SATB (div.) a cappella

    AUDIO
    Excerpt performed by the South Bend Chamber Singers
    Nancy Menk, conductor
    Commissioned by the South Bend Chamber Singers

    ORDERING SCORES
    Inkjar Publishing Company
    Click here to email Inkjar for purchasing options
    Perusal score

    PROGRAM NOTES
    The text of Veni, Veni Emmanuel is taken from a traditional advent hymn dating back to the 12th century.  I found this text to be fascinating because it alternates between two different emotions: longing and joy.  In each verse, as the singers reiterate their call for Emmanuel to appear, the music becomes more urgent with their longing. In each repetition of the refrain, their elation increases as the text depicts the growing joy of Emmanuel's impending arrival. As the work draws to a close, the singers' call for Emmanuel changes from one of urgency to one of reverent patience.
    -S.G.

    TEXT


    Veni veni, Emmanuel
    captivum solve Israel,
    qui gemit in exsilio,
    privatus Dei Filio.

    Refrain: 
    Gaude! Gaude!
    Emmanuel nascetur pro te Israel!

    Veni, veni, Rex Gentium,
    veni, Redemptor omnium,
    ut salvas tuos famulos
    peccati sibi conscios. 

    Refrain

    TRANSLATION

    O Come, O come, Emmanuel,
    and ransom captive Israel,
    that mourns in lonely exile here
    until the Son of God appear.

    Refrain:
    Rejoice! Rejoice!
    Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

    O come, Desire of nations, bind
    in one the hearts of all mankind;
    bid every strife and quarrel cease
    and fill the world with heaven's peace.

    Refrain