Opus number: Op. 120

Title: Songs of Reconciliation

Instrumentation: Soprano and orchestra

Commissioned: Tran Nhan Tong Academy

Texts: Tran Nhan Tong, Walt Whitman

Texts: click here
Death (Tran Nhan Tong)
The wild-raging storm sweeps the whole earth now,
Running adrift the drunken fisherman’s boat.
From all four quarters, clouds thicken and blacken,
Waves surge like the report of beaten drums,
Everything washing out by slashing rain, gust-driven,
Beneath the shuddering menace of this thunder.
Afterward, the dust settles, the sky grows calm,
And the moonlit river lengthens out. What time of night is this?

A Clear Midnight (Whitman)
This is thy hour O Soul, thy free flight into the worldess,
Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson done,
Thee fully forth emerging silent, gazing, pondering the themes thou lovest best.
Night, sleep, and the stars.

Spring Evening (Tarn Nhan Tong)
I understand nothing, in my youth;
When spring came my mind wandered in flowers.
You already carry within you the family jewel, don’t look for it elsewhere.
I sit on my cushion, I sit on the meditation board,
And watch red petals fall.

Reconciliation (Whitman)
Word over all, beautiful as the sky!
Beautiful that war, and all its deeds of carnage, must in time be utterly lost;
That the hands of the sisters Death and Night, incessantly softly
wash again, and ever again, this soil’d world:
. . . For my enemy is dead—a man divine as myself is dead;
I look where he lies, white-faced and still, in the coffin—I draw near;
I bend down, and tough lightly with my lips the white face in the coffin.

Date written: 2013

Length: ten minutes

Premiere performance: July 12, 2013, Landmarks Orchestra, Christopher Willkins, conductor, Natalie Polito, soprano, Hatch Shell, Boston

Subsequent Performance: April 9, 2014, National Orchestra of Vietnam, Larry Bell, conductor, Hanoi, Vietnam

Program notes: Songs of Reconciliation, Op. 120, was commissioned by the Tran Nhan Tong Academy to celebrate the winners of the 2013 Tran Nhan Tong Reconciliation Prize. The work is written for soprano and orchestra and is based on poetry by Tran Nhan Tong and Walt Whitman. It is to be sung by Natalie Polito accompanied by the Landmarks Orchestra conducted by Christopher Wilkins in the summer of 2013 and later in Hanoi, Vietnam, in the spring of 2014 with the Ms. Polito and the composer conducting the National Symphony of Vietnam.