Madonna of the Evening Flowers
for SATB choir and small orchestra (2011)
by Ron Hannah

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Duration: about 6 minutes

     Upon my return to Canada after years of wandering the world, I resumed something I had been missing all that time: I joined a choir, specifically the Chilliwack Symphony Chorus, since that is where I find myself at the time of this writing. Choral singing is a true joy, and when an orchestra is present I find it difficult to keep singing - I just want to put down my music and listen. That difficulty showed itself very well in our recent production of the Mozart Requiem, however I managed to get to the end after all, missing only one entry due to distraction!

  
  


     The group is conducted by an energetic and talented lady named Paula DeWit, and my piece is dedicated to her and to the Choir. It is a community choir having the remarkable ability to bring off some very complex music. It's a pleasure to belong.

     Madonna of the Evening Flowers is lush, modern, somewhat dissonant, with care being taken to lead each voice smoothly and logically (I hope) into each chord. The orchestra consists of single winds, a french horn, and strings. Putting it all together with words by
Amy Lowell, my favourite poet, adds up to a work I am pleased with.


         Canterbury Bells
   Madonna of the Evening Flowers

   All day long I have been working,
   Now I am tired.
   I call: "Where are you?"
   But there is only the oak-tree rustling in the wind.
   The house is very quiet,
   The sun shines in on your books,
   On your scissors and thimble just put down,
   But you are not there.
   Suddenly I am lonely:
   Where are you? I go about searching.

   Then I see you,
   Standing under a spire of pale blue larkspur,
   With a basket of roses on your arm.
   You are cool, like silver,
   And you smile.
   I think the Canterbury bells are playing little tunes.

   You tell me that the peonies need spraying,
   That the columbines have overrun all bounds,
   That the pyrus japonica should be cut back and rounded.
   You tell me all these things.
   But I look at you, heart of silver,
   White heart-flame of polished silver,
   Burning beneath the blue steeples of the larkspur,
   And I long to kneel instantly at your feet,
   While all about us peal the loud, sweet, Te Deums of the Canterbury bells.

     Amy Lowell's poetry is among the most evocative I have ever found. I have set, and re-set, her poems many times over the years. Please visit this link for a listing of all of my works on Miss Lowell's poetry; songs for solo voice and for choir, with chamber ensemble accompaniment, and with orchestral accompaniment as you see here. She is MY poet!

     The full score and a Midi sound file (piano sound only) can be obtained by clicking above, and parts are available free of charge by sending me an email (below), or through the Canadian Music Center.


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