Star Song

Conductor Notes:

Star Song was commissioned with the assistance of the Diane Loomer Commissioning Fund for Elektra Women’s Choir.

Vancouver-based Ed Henderson wrote this work for Elektra’s 2009 Chez Nous: Christmas with Elektra concert in which he was also a performer on classical guitar. We also had acoustic bass player Jodi Proznick and our own Stephen Smith on piano, and all three provided the accompaniment. The search for a suitable text ended the instant we saw US poet Luci Shaw’s stunning “Star Song”, which Ed edited slightly to serve some rhythmic demands of his concept for the piece. Luci approved the changes. Star Song is through composed, with many elements of rhythmic interest and changes of tempo and style to reflect the mood of the poem. The overall themes of awe and joy at the birth of Christ are beautifully realized and, while learning this piece required steady work over many weeks, the result was worth it. Audience reaction was very strong. We had small amplifiers directly connected to both the guitar and bass to balance the choir and piano in the acoustics of the performance venue. Once the levels were set in sound check, there was no need to fiddle with them later, so no sound engineer was needed.


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





Text of “Star Song” adapted from Accompanied by Angels, Copyright 2006. Used by permission of Luci Shaw.

We have been having epiphanies, like suns, all this year long. And now, at its close when the planets are shining through frost, radiance runs like music in the bones, and the heart keeps rising at the sound of any song. Old magic flowing the calling of bells, round high and clear, flying and falling, re-sounding the death knell of our old year, the new appearing of Christ, our Morning Star. Now burst! all our bell throats. Toll! every clapper tongue. Stun the still night! Jesus himself gleams through our high heart notes (it is no fable). It is he whose light glistens in each song sung and in all of us in the true coming together again at the stable: shepherds, sages, his women and men, common and faithful, wealthy and wise, with carillon hearts and, suddenly, stars in our eyes.