I am in Need of Music

Program Notes:

This is a reworking of a piece Smith wrote originally for the Vancouver Men’s Chorus and string quartet. In its new form, there is a solo melody and the voices of the choir replace the string quartet in a sombre and inspiring work. Commissioned for Suzie LeBlanc and Stephen Smith with a generous gift from Elisabeth and David Finch

Conductor Notes:

SSAA and soprano solo (or mezzo) a cappella

The relatively low tessitura of this work would keep it out of reach of children’s choirs. The soprano has a major role to play. As always with Stephen Smith’s music, word stress and vocal lines are top notch.


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



I am in need of music that would flow
Over my fretful, feeling fingertips,
Over my bitter-tainted, trembling lips,
With melody, deep, clear, and liquid-slow.
Oh, for the healing swaying, old and low,
Of some song sung to rest the tired dead,
A song to fall like water on my head,

And over quivering limbs, dream flushed to glow!

There is a magic made by melody:
A spell of rest, and quiet breath, and cool
Heart, that sinks through fading colors deep
To the subaqueous stillness of the sea,
And floats forever in a moon-green pool,
Held in the arms of rhythm and of sleep.

Elizabeth Bishop