This Enders Nyght
About this work:
This text was derived from four versions of the ancient English carol, “This Enders Nyght,” found in manuscripts dating from the 15th and 16th centuries. It features a narrative introduction and conclusion, a quasi-dialogue between Mary (mother) and Jesus (Son), and a lullaby refrain.
What first caught my attention about this text was the “conversation” between Mary and Jesus. I was excited about the musical possibilities for expressing that dialogue. As the piece developed, I worked to evoke a simple, “mortal” feel in the Mother section, and an altogether different, magical sounding effect when this amazing newborn babe speaks. I then blended these styles for the refrain, where mortal Mary finds herself lifted up by the divine power of her Son’s words, and sings on.
The entire conversation is enclosed within a pair of narrative statements. The first, “This enders nyght…” sets the scene, and the last serves as a sort of summation: everyone should rejoice/ Jesus is born/ let’s sing his mother’s lullaby together. The piece then concludes with a repeat of the refrain, which rocks itself to a quiet conclusion.
Year composed: 2002
Ensemble type: Chorus, with or without Solo Voices:Chorus with One Non-Keyboard Instrument
Instrumentation: 2 Percussion (General), 1 Soprano, 1 Alto, 1 Tenor, 1 Bass
Instrumentation notes: SATB with glockenspiel (orchestra bells) and suspended cymbal