Many of Hansson’s choral pieces have been inspired by Psalm texts. The way the Psalms relate to our personal experience of faith, with many contrasting emotions and often questioning tones, particularly interests the composer. Psalm 13, Lighten mine eyes
, describes the desperation of the psalmist who is questioning how long God will make him suffer at the hands of his enemies. The voice of despair in the slow repetition of ‘How long’ from the lower voices contrasts markedly with the more agonized descending declamation from the upper voices. This playing out of emotions continues until the psalmist asks for enlightenment with the words ‘lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death’, set with four echoing soprano voices. This is a turning point, with lower voices reflecting on the words ‘But I have trusted in thy mercy’. Now a new texture begins rising confidently with soprano and alto cries of ‘my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation’. Hope and faith prevail and there is a very palpable sense of resolution and calm for the concluding line ‘because he hath dealt bountifully with me’, where the two choirs echo each other in an ecstatic and yet quiet song of redemption. The piece was composed for the Maria Magdalena Motet Choir and Ragnar Bohlin.
from notes by Rupert Gough © 2012