The Soul’s Beauty

for SATB choir with piano and violin

Premiere Performance with introduction by the composer:

Women’s Sacred Music Project Festival Chorale
Dr. Ted Latham, conductor
Gareth Haynes, piano
Dr. Azer Damirov, violin

The Soul’s Beauty was commissioned by Dr. Ted Latham for the St. Thomas of Villanova Parish Choir and the Women’s Sacred Music Festival. The text is comprised of nine excerpts from the writings of St. Augustine, forming a chiasmus of nine micro-movements, listed below:

I. The Times
II. Perfection
III. Striving
IV. Beauty
V. Restlessness
VI. Beauty
VII. Striving
VIII. Perfection
IX. The Times

The first and last movements are identical, while the inner movements (II and VIII, III and VII, IV and VI) each mirror one another in some way, with the middle movement (V) standing alone in the center. The two “perfection” movements play on perfect and imperfect intervals as the perfect/imperfect dichotomy is explored in the text. The two “striving” movements feature a bass and a soprano soloist respectively, emphasizing the outer extremes of the vocal registers. The “beauty” movements feature simplicity through repetition and pedal tones in the accompaniment and consonant diatonic harmony in the voices. They are loose retrogrades of one another, a literal musical mirror image. Finally, “restlessness” has no partner as the middle movement, but features fast moving 16th-note runs in all voices in close imitation.