About the Work
WORLD PREMIERE: October 8, 2017. Commissioned by the Dallas Symphony Chorus in celebration of their 40th Anniversary season. Joshua Habermann, conductor.
Orchestral version will premiere in June of 2018 and will be available for performances thereafter. Instrumentation matches that of Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms” (3 Trumpets, 3 Trombones, Timp. + 2, Harp, SATB Choir, Strings).
“Ah, from a little child, Thou knowest, Soul, how to me all sounds became music,” writes Walt Whitman in his poem “Proud Music of the Storm.” I’ve taken inspiration from Whitman’s words to create a new work celebrating the joy of communal singing and honoring the Dallas Symphony Chorus’s 40th anniversary. The text and music explore the sounds that make up our world — from mountain winds, to the roar of rivers, to songs of lost love — and how they nourish, console, and inspire us in life and in our creative expression.
Listen (piano version):
Premiere: October 8, 2017. Dallas Symphony Chorus. Joshua Habermann, conductor.
Proud Music of the Storm
by Walt Whitman
Proud music of the storm!
Blast that careers so free, whistling across the prairies!
Strong hum of forest tree-tops! Wind of the mountains!
Blending, with Nature’s rhythmus, all the tongues of nations;
You undertone of rivers, roar of pouring cataracts;
Trooping tumultuous, filling the midnight late, bending me powerless,
Entering my lonesome slumber-chamber–Why have you seiz’d me?
Ah, from a little child,
Thou knowest, Soul, how to me all sounds became music;
My mother’s voice, in lullaby;
The solemn hymns and masses, rousing adoration,
All passionate heart-chants, sorrowful appeals,
Song of lost love–the torch of youth and life quench’d in despair,
The measureless sweet vocalists of ages,
Of winds and woods and mighty ocean waves;
Give me to hold all sounds,
Fill me with all the voices of the universe,
The tempests, waters, winds—operas and chants—marches and dances,
pour in–for I would take them all.
Then I woke softly,
And pausing, questioning the music of my dream,
I said to my silent, curious Soul,
Cheerfully tallying life, walking the world, the real,
What thou hast heard, O Soul, was not the sound of winds,
Nor dream of raging storm,
But, to a new rhythmus fitted for thee,
Poems, bridging the way from Life to Death,
vaguely wafted in night air, uncaught, unwritten,
Which, let us go forth in the bold day, and write.