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In this setting, commissioned by Kent Hatterberg for the University of Louisville Cardinal Singers, I wanted to use Owen’s graphic lyrics—where soldiers 'die as cattle'—contrasted with something gentle, dear and very personal. As I kept thinking about what that might be, in the Library of Congress I finally found an old manuscript from 1918 of A soldier’s mother’s lullaby—a song by Peter C Caporossi with lyrics by Jack Whalen. That was it! The second half of Jack’s poem brought me to tears—a simple, fragile story about the mother of a soldier, humming her lullaby and dreaming of the days long ago when her son was sleeping in his cradle. I imagined the voices of the mother and the soldier echoing each other from thousands of miles away. The next lyrics, 'And as the wind blows' inspired me to paint the flow of time, years, and memories in music for double chorus, in constantly shifting, overlapping harmony. At the very end of the song I gradually switched the perspective from their home to a picture or imagined place in heaven where millions of such lullabies meet.
from notes by Ēriks Ešenvalds © 2020
|Ešenvalds: There will come soft rains & other choral works|
Founded in 1926, the Choir of the West is the leading choral ensemble of the Department of Music at Pacific Lutheran University, located in Tacoma, Washington. This recording celebrates the music of Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds.» More