About the Work
Commissioned by Grammy-nominated Seraphic Fire and conductor Patrick Dupré Quigley.
The commissioning of this work was made possible by the support of the Ann Stookey Fund for New Music.
“How will you ever find peace unless you yield to love?”
With all of the inequality, violence, and pain in our world, I continue to dwell on the importance and impact of love — love shown to others and love shown to oneself. When considering the focus for this Seraphic Fire commission, I didn’t necessarily choose the topic of love, it was a calling.
I am a hoarder of poetry and one of my favorite collections is “Love Poems From God” — mystical poems by Daniel Ladinsky inspired by famous writers from around the world. This book is a composer’s dream with colorful, powerful, and succinct writings that talk of living fully, deep spirituality, self-contemplation, and love. When starting my work on this new composition, I opened Ladinsky’s book to find a treasure trove of quaint parables and sage advice for us all as we seek meaning in our human condition. “The Hope of Loving” uses a selection of writings inspired by spiritual mystics throughout history to explore the idea of love and its manifestation in our lives.
The work begins with the string quartet playing a descending sequence of a single musical interval — the perfect fourth. This interval appears throughout the work as a musical motive but also a sign post; acting as a sort of character or embodiment of love. The string quartet, soloists, and chorus serve equal roles throughout the work in bringing these mystical words to life. In each of the six movements, I have endeavored to capture various ways we, as humans, respond to and act on our idea of love; hopefully creating opportunities for introspection and realization.
Love is our most valuable resource, our most precious possession, our doorway into fostering compassion. May you consider these texts and this music with an open mind and ask yourself, “to whom can I give more love in my life?” For it is through love, both given and received, that our world can change.
Video with subtitles.
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The Hope of Loving
I. Yield to Love (Rabia)
I know about love the way the fields know about light,
the way the forest shelters us.
We are vulnerable like an infant.
We need each other’s care or we will suffer.
How will you ever find peace unless you yield to love?
II. Wild Forces (St. Francis of Assisi)
There are beautiful, wild forces within us.
Let them turn millstones inside
filling bushels that reach to the sky.
III. Wondrous Creatures (Hafiz)
O wondrous creatures, by what strange miracle do you so often not smile?
IV. The Heart’s Veil (string quartet)
V. My Soul Is a Candle (St. John of the Cross)
My soul is a candle that burned away the veil;
only the glorious duties of light I now have.
The soul is a candle that will burn away the darkness;
only the glorious duties of love we will have.
Tenderly, I now touch all things, knowing one day we will part.
VI. The Hope of Loving (Meister Eckhart)
What keeps us alive, what allows us to endure?
It is the hope of loving, of being loved.
We weep when light does not reach our hearts.
We wither like fields if someone close
does not rain their kindness upon us.
My soul has a purpose, it is to love.
[Text adapted from Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West by Daniel Ladinsky.]