The motet God is light
(2017) traces a simple and inspiring arc from darkness to light. The opening setting of the eleventh verse of Psalm 139, ‘The darkness is no darkness with thee’, features murky, unsettled harmonies and expressive, imitative writing between the upper and lower voices. There follows a delicate treatment, favouring the upper voices, of ‘Ye are all the children of light’ (1 Thessalonians 5: 5). Between these two settings, McDowall interposes the bright exclamation for sopranos, ‘God is light’, paving the way for the radiance of the extended and increasingly luminous closing setting of ‘God is light, and in him is no darkness at all’ (1 John 1: 5), which climaxes on an exultant, affirmative A major chord. God is light
was commissioned by the East Anglia-based Fairhaven Singers, who, together with the Perse Prep School Choir, premiered the work in the Chapel of Queens’ College, Cambridge.
from notes by Paul Conway © 2021