Octavo of the Month (December 2006)
Mike Walag, ICDA High School R&S Chair
Reflections of the Heart
SATB, a cappella
"Reflections of the Heart" is a set of three contrasting movements based on
poems of love by Jane Mayes. The complete set should be performed in its
entirety and would be especially well suited for a chamber choir.
The first movement, Blessings is set in a light-hearted madrigal style and
identifies the five blessings being sought for one's love. They are:
1) a healthy mind, 2) a body whole, 3) a lively spirit, 4) a serene soul, and 5)
love that lasts for an eternity.
Impressions is a slower, romanticized movement that expresses the sentiment
of how one life touches another and thus leaves a permanent impression upon
the heart. Rich harmonies with step-wise voice leading, text painting, and
rubato tempos characterize the strong emotions of this text.
The final movement describes a pleasurable walk on the beach and compares
finding a sea shell to finding the perfect treasure in one's love, i.e.
"then lying there ahead a perfect shell I chance to see..joy without
measure". This is the longest movement with more involved choral
part-writing, divisii harmonies, strong dynamic contrasts, and "molto
expressivo" compositional techniques.
Overall, this set exemplifies some very expressive and artistic choral
writing. This would make an excellent contest piece.