Even When He is Silent

Even When He is Silent


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This piece is a setting of a text found scrawled on the wall of a concentration camp in Cologne, Germany. It is meant to convey a feeling of hope that remains steadfast in dark times. The piece is in 3 sections, matching the three lines of the poem, but also has an extended coda where the text is repeated.

The first two sections are in an odd time signature, giving a feeling of unsettledness and tumult. The melodic lines rise and fall frequently, and often create lingering suspensions, communicating a sense of yearning. The second section uses increasingly dissonant polychords built on the melodic material, often on the word “love”. These chords represent pangs of heartache when one does not feel loved.

The third section builds gradually and modulates “downwards.” becoming more and more flat. As the key becomes more flat, the intensity and volume increase until a glorious modulation from Ab major to E major. This modulation, and the resulting climactic section, are a musical representation of the power of hope.

Text: Unknown (written on the wall of a cellar in the Cologne concentration camp)

Voicing: SATB Divisi

Composed in 2022


Untitled text

Unknown Author

I believe in the sun, Even when it’s not shining.

I believe in Love, Even when I do not feel loved.

I believe in God, Even when he is silent.