About the Piece
Written for and premiered by the Rhythm of Life Community Chorus under the direction of Misty Dupuis. Premiered on Nov. 13, 2016 in Wheat Ridge, CO.
When Misty created her own "call for scores" for her community chorus, I was very excited to provide a piece. However, I didn't really have any works at that time that matched the level or voicing for this choir. So I decided to write a new one just for them.
I had always wanted to work with a living poet, and after meeting a few in my time at MSU Denver while earning my undergraduate degree, I met a man who's poetry I really liked: F. Taylor Atkinson. I approached Taylor to ask him for some examples of his work that he might think would work well with music (Taylor is a musician himself and was even in the same choir I was, so it was easy to trust his opinion in this scenario). Of all the works he provided me, this poem stood out in my mind above them all.
"My Darling" is short, but every word is necessary to the poetry. This poem is a sort of letter to a loved one, asking them to travel back to the writer quickly, but safely. This was based off the real experiences of Taylor and his wife during a period of long-distance in their relationship. Most weekends, one of them would drive through the Colorado Mountains for several hours to visit the other. Sometimes however, the snow made these trips treacherous.
The way Taylor typeset this poem on the page leaves a lot of intentional white space surrounding the words, to represent the snowy landscape during these drives. I attempted to be sensitive to this artistic choice by including moments of pure piano instrumental to set the scene between phrases. The beginning and ending of the work are mostly in unison (or octaves) for the singers, with a contrasting middle section in divisi. This piece is also available in SA Chorus, and SATB Chorus voicing.
See the Score:
Poetry by F. Taylor Atkinson
Travel safe and quick -
Soon the long, white days of winter
will have melted to green grass underfoot,
and the soaring pinnacles of creation can
no longer keep us apart.