Emersonia (2011) op. 113

Opus number: op. 113

Title: Emersonia

  1. The Rhodora
  2. Two Rivers
  3. Give All To Love
  4. Concord Hymn

Instrumentation: A capella chorus SATB

Commissioned: First Church Boston

Text: Ralph Waldo Emerson

Text: click here

Date written: 2011

Length: fifteen minutes

Premiere performance: June 10, 2012, First Church service. Also October 2, 2011. January 27, 2013, Collin Concert at the First Church Boston, Choir of First Church Boston

Program notes: For the texts of this piece I chose four poems by Ralph Waldo Emerson, who was for a brief period a Unitarian minister in Boston. The four parts of this piece, “The Rhedora,” “Two Rivers,” “Give all to Love,” and “Concord Hymn,” are designed for an entire service: Prelude, Musical Interlude, Offertory, and Postlude respectively. “Concord Hymn” is best known for its line “and fired the shot heard round the world.” Emersonia is dedicated to Paul Cienniwa and the choir at First Church Boston who gave its premiere during the fall of 2011.

The music is largely tonal with frequent inflections of harmony drawn from the parallel minor, sometime known as modal interchange. Both the beginning and the end are mostly homophonic with the two interior sections being mostly polyphonic. “Two Rivers,” for example contains many examples of canonic imitation that reflect the textual idea of the two rivers. In all four sections appear many instances of text painting akin to those ofthe Renaissance madrigal.