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This piece is in four sections, each of which starts with a unison pitch that expands outwards and returns to unison. This musically represents the sensation of vision blurring when one is about to cry. When composing this piece, I thought about many moments throughout my life where I have looked up at the stars and been overwhelmed by their beauty and grandeur. When I looked up at the night sky with blurred vision, the stars would multiply. There is a great comfort in being small in the face of such a beautiful universe.
This piece employs a choral effect similar to putting a damper pedal down on the piano. The choir is split into many groups, and each group is asked to sustain a different pitch in a unison melodic line. This results in a wash of sound that swells and dissipates suddenly.
The final two lines of text are sung by a soloist – a high, soaring melodic line encapsulates the feeling of being unafraid in the face of that which is overwhelmingly grand. The end of the piece doesn’t quite reach unison between the choir and soloist, leaving us with a feeling of longing.
Text: Marjorie Pickthall
Voicing: SATB Divisi + Solo
Composed in 2019
By Marjorie Pickthall
Now in the West the slender moon lies low,
And now Orion glimmers through the trees,
Clearing the earth with even pace and slow,
And now the stately-moving Pleiades,
In that soft infinite darkness overhead
Hang jewel-wise upon a silver thread.
And all the lonelier stars that have their place,
Calm lamps within the distant southern sky,
And planet-dust upon the edge of space,
Look down upon the fretful world, and I
Look up to outer vastness unafraid
And see the stars which sang when earth was made.