Carol of the Night
Text: Jean Greenwood
Winner of the 20th annual VocalEssence Welcome Christmas Carol Contest
Premiere: VocalEssence Ensemble Singers, Philip Brunelle, cond. Roseville, Minnesota, December 8, 2017
In this holy darkness,
this quiet hour,
the beating heart is heard,
a gentle drumbeat of longing. . . .
Copyright © Jean Greenwood
“Carol of the Night” treats an image common to all religious traditions: the kindling of light in the darkness. The Spirit unfolds the mystery, but it is for humanity to “blow on the embers of the heart.” In the music, searching harmonies set a melancholy tone, but a four-note, ascending “light”-motive soon spreads throughout the texture, as if from candle to candle. The mood is similar to my setting of “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”
Minneapolis poet Jean Greenwood is a Presbyterian minister and a recipient of a Bush Leadership Grant. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Minnesota with a BS in English Education, and received a Masters of Divinity from United Theological Seminary.
“Carol of the Night” was composed during the holiday season in 2016. As a former member of the Plymouth Music Series Chorus (now VocalEssence), I’m particularly pleased and honored to hear the work introduced by the Ensemble.