Conductor Michael Zaugg had programmed an evening of songs about love for the Nova Scotia Honour Choir,
and he asked me to write something that would be an overall reflection on the theme.
Much of the power of this piece comes from the deep, slow groove. Connecting with the words is a good way not to rush.
Choirs often tell me they get so focused on singing well that they go on automatic pilot when it comes to the text.
Don't let that happen. If I've written this piece right, there should be something in the text everybody
can apply to their own lives, and to those moments when you feel an utter sadness sigh itself into something radiant.
Singing multiple levels of text requires a clear, transparent texture (I think of 3D chess boards),
especially if you are in a resonant performance space. Balancing the parts will require the singers to be
aware when they are moving in and out of the foreground of the song. The challenge is to keep good, firm presence in the singers'
tone, even when they have to "make sonic room" for additional voices. This is especially true for the basses,
who are at the center of the groove no matter how many voices are added.
The recording by the Nova Scotia Honour Choir is beautifully conducted and beautifully sung, but it also points
out the difficulty of keeping the text clear in the sort of reverberant acoustic that suits other choral styles so well.
Patient Love can reign and reign
O'er years of woe, over worlds of pain.
Obedient Love can hear you groan,
But it won't come down for your tears alone.
Patient Love can wait and wait
For tangled lives, for your twisted fate.
Obedient Love, who hears me sigh,
You know my voice so much better than I.
I sang of Love into the evening.
I'll dream in moonlight 'til the end of this song.
Sometimes so much of Love is grieving.
And sometimes grieving is the gift
That just keeps giving on and on.
And I'm ready to bear the charges,
And I'm steady for the plea.
Just to be worthy to say, come and find me today.
Love, deliver me.