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…of Sound and Light… (2008)

Instrumentation: SATB, soprano solo or semi chorus, organ
Duration: ca. 6'
Text by Douglas Buchanan

Program Note

While preparing for my undergraduate Junior recital, I had immersed myself in all things contrapuntal. Beyond delving into coursework, I had also taken on several monumental works for the recital, including Bach’s “Goldberg” variations and Beethoven’s piano sonata Op. 109. Even before I began studying music theory in earnest, I was captivated by the intellectual notion of weaving together strands of musical ideas into a single fabric.

One night, practicing late, I could sense I was becoming sick. After trudging back to my room, I immediately fell into a deep and fevered sleep. During the course of a rather fitful night, I had two fever dreams. The first was a touch bizarre: a sect of monks were using a secret form of species counterpoint to affect people’s minds, and thus take over the world.

The second was rather more sublime, and has stayed with me for many years. In it, I saw a great tower, made of brown stone and open to the sky, with many different people of all walks of life floating about inside it. If one looked at them again, one would see that they were also strands of silver glass, with many colors reflected inside them. In their wake, these strands left numinous lines of music, as they all floated slowly upwards to the tower’s opening at the top.

Dreams and visions exist mostly outside the rational discourse of academia. However, I have held this experience close to me as a guiding principal for both my music and my life: how best can I create and foster environments where all melodies, musics, peoples, can act in their own independent way to the betterment of the whole? Though I expressly responded to this dream in …of Sound and Light…, read and recorded by the Peabody Singers in 2008 under the direction of Ken Lam, the core notion has infused each work that I have written since that fevered night.

— Douglas Buchanan


…of Sound and Light…


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