"A Universal Dream" commissioned by the Sister Singers Network
A Universal Dream for SSAA choir, djembe, and piano
Premiered July 4, 2010 in Chicago
Jenni was commissioned by the Sister Singers Network, to compose and conduct her new choral work A Universal Dream to be premiered during the 10th Sister Singers Network Choral Festival over the Fourth of July weekend 2010 in Chicago, Illinois.
The 2010 SSN Festival, hosted by Artemis Singers, took place from Thursday, July 1 and continued through Sunday, July 4. The event took place at Loyola University Chicago – Lake Shore Campus.
Dancing Naked at the Edge of Dawn for SSAA choir, percussion, and piano
Commissioned by the women’s choir Sistrum under the direction of Meredith Bowen, I had the privilege to compose Dancing Naked at the Edge of Dawn for an incredibly diverse and lovely group of women to premiere. In creating this work I had the simple yet beautiful imagery of the poetry by author Kris Radish which was chosen by the women of Sistrum. Her words absolutely lend themselves to tone painting, and I tried to match my musical brush strokes with the bold colors in Kris’ poetry.
In “the dark line” the imagery of night blending with day lends itself to the choir’s opening, gentle lines that eventually give way to the final powerful a cappella line “bright moon, golden night, you have become my new season,” giving hope for love.
One particular line of Kris’ poems that I love comes from “morning prayer.” It is: “dark windows, kitchen sounds, laughter, near the chair…” I love this idea of being up early in the morning before everyone else, but being in room that has been and will be filled with voices and daily activities. I wanted to let the choir reflect this idea through a freely sung section where all of the voices – past, present, and future – mix and intertwine with each other all at once.
It was very important to me that this work to reflect the unique and lovely women of Sistrum. I wanted to give them all a chance to dance in the final title movement. I felt that the addition of a hand drum would bring together that primal instinct to dance and celebrate and to join together in harmony. Read the poetry below and listen to examples from Sistrum's CD Dancing Naked at the Edge of Dawn, released in 2010 on Blue Griffin Recording, Inc.
"Vive la Liberté!" for two-part treble chorus, flute, percussion, and piano
Vive la Liberté! for two-part treble chorus, flute, percussion, and piano was commissioned by the Lafayette 250 Committee of Arrangements for a performance by the St. Patrick Catholic School Concert Choir, under the direction of Paul Cunningham, in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette on the occasion of his 250th birth anniversary, the celebration of which was held in historic downtown Fayetteville, North Carolina on the 6th day of September 2007, in the first city in the United States to be named for Lafayette.
The Giver of Stars for SATB choir a cappella was commissioned in 2010 by the Young New Yorkers's Chorus under the direction of Michael Kerschner. This piece was part of their 6th Annual Young Composers Composition Competition. It was premiered by the YNYC at St. Peter's Church in New York City on June 5, 2010.
Amy Lowell’s poem At Night speaks of the wind singing through the trees and the excitement of the wild wind. The voices imitate this idea of the wind at the beginning and end of the piece through freely-sung sections. Much of the piece contains this feeling of joyful freedom, from the dance-like section of “with delight she listens to the booming of the seas” to the “wild, tumultuous joy” that grows and builds with excitement. When the voices come together to exclaim “And my mind, O Star! is filled with your white light,” we feel the true wonder of a hot July night and the freedom to enjoy the onward sweeping wind.
This piece was selected as the recipient of the 2008 Sorel Medallion and was premiered in Zankel Hall in Carnegie Hall by Voices of Ascension under the direction of Dennis Keene on October 29th.