To Morning

  • Composer: Allan Bevan 
  • Publisher: Cypress Choral Music
  • Cat No: CPC 1076
  • Canadian Composition: Yes
  • Duration: 3:41
  • Sample Track:

Program Notes:

Another rich and evocative work by Canada’s Allan Bevan, this time calling on the morning, a “holy virgin, clad in purest white”, to unlock its “golden gate and issue forth”. Since beginning life as the choral work you are hearing this evening, the piece has been arranged by Bevan for orchestra, in which form it is widely performed, winning awards for new composition.

Conductor Notes:

After a somber and mysterious introduction by the piano, the opening vocal line of this setting of William Blake’s poem sounds and feels like a sacred work, but the line “O holy virgin” refers not to the Virgin Mary but to “morning” herself, “clad in purest white”. Scored for piano and voices in three parts, the emphasis is definitely on the text, creating lots of opportunity for your choir to sing expressively and with good diction. In spite of a harmonic language that is quite adventurous, this piece sings beautifully and the lines are well crafted for voices. Clear dynamic contrasts and frequent unisons in a fairly low range contribute to this piece’s beautiful unfolding, mirroring the sunrise it describes. The climax comes in the last chords by the choir, at which point you need a few first sopranos who can sing one high Bb with poise. We never hesitate to use just a few voices in spots like this.

Composer / Arranger Notes:

I began composing this piece in 1981, when I was an undergraduate studying composition with Dr. Paul McIntyre at the University of Windsor School of Music. I was inspired by Blake’s (1757-1827) haunting text which I found to be so colourful yet elusive. Unfortunately, we ran out of time that term and I was not able to complete To Morning . Fourteen years later I found the piece again in one of my sketch books! I went onto finish it in 1995 and of all my choral works, it still is one of my own personal favourites.

References:

This lists any discs, concerts or collections where this piece is included.

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Text:

William Blake (1757-1827) O holy virgin! clad in purest white. Unlock hea’n’s golden gates. And issue forth: Awake the dawn that sleeps in heav’n: let light rise from the chambers of the east. And bring the honied dew that cometh on waking. Waking. Waking day. O radiant morning. Salute the sun like a huntsman to the chase and with Thy buskin’d feet. Appear upon our hills.