Mirthful Heart, The
- Composer: Abbie Betinis
- Publisher: Abbie Betinis Music Co.
- Cat No: AB-073-C12P
- Canadian Composition: No
- Duration: 2:50
For her 2012 Christmas card carol, composer Abbie Betinis chose a 1914 poem by fellow Minnesotan Grace Fallow Norton. Says Abbie of this Christmastime reflection, “Her words inspire me to believe that, even in a dreary world, it’s possible … to hold this “strange carnival” of joy in our hearts.”
SSA with frame drum. A delightful, energetic piece with a driving rhythm and Abbie’s trademark rhythmic interest. I used a soloist on the verses.
Composer / Arranger Notes:
Since 2001, I’ve been writing an annual carol to send in my family’s Christmas card — a family tradition begun by my great-grandfather Bates Burt in 1922, and passed through my great uncle Alfred Burt.
This year, I surely read over a hundred Christmas and winter poems looking for just the thing I wanted to say to friends and family in 2012 — a year which, for the United States, brought divisive politics, devastating natural disasters, and tragic shootings. On a personal note, I lost three influential women and role-models in my life: my grandmother, my great-aunt, and my godmother.
These hardships make me wonder how we — the living — make sense of life, despite this tragic world. What propels us, indeed, compels us to keep going, even when it’s so hard to make sense of loss?
I think Grace Fallow Norton, born in Northfield, Minnesota in 1876, provides an answer in this poem from 1914. Her words inspire me to believe that, even in a dreary world, it’s possible — if indeed also absurd — to hold this “strange carnival” of joy in our hearts.
And just now — as I write this — I realize I’ve composed this music for a trio of strong, lusty women. I love you Nonna, Aunt Harriet, and Aunt Anita. You each showed me, in your own way, how to keep a “mirthful heart,” and to take delight in each new day. I will never forget our wonderful times together.
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