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Earth’s Secret Soul

Publisher: LAH Publications

Catalogue Number: LAH 57

Year: 2019


Duration: 4:00

This work was commissioned for the Concordia University of Edmonton choirs, under the direction of my dear friend and colleague, Dr. Joy Berg. I was delighted to be asked to writing something for Dr. Berg’s inspiring program at Concordia.

In the opening, I had in mind Dr. Berg’s idea that this would be a short work that would make a statement, and I found inspiration from the opening lines “We have not heard the music of the spheres, the song of star to star,” which for me conjured up images of the spinning cosmos, alive with music and energy, which I tried to capture in the way the opening section develops in a dizzying energetic way. The middle section turns to a more meditative feeling where the music spends time with the fall of streams and the summer rain.

I aimed to end the piece in the key of D-flat major because to me, D-flat major seems to be one of the most universally resonant and sonorous keys for choirs, which in my mind linked to the content of the poetry in a “universal truth” and “star stuff” kind of way.

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Archibald Lampman (1861-1899)

We have not heard the music of the spheres,
The song of star to star, but there are sounds
More deep than human joy and human tears,
That Nature uses in her common rounds;
The fall of streams, the cry of winds that strain
The oak, the roaring of the sea’s surge, might
Of thunder breaking afar off, or rain
That falls by minutes in the summer night.
These are the voices of earth’s secret soul,
Uttering the mystery from which she came.

from Voices of Earth – Archibald Lampman