Son to Mother. SATB
Henrik Dahlgren Maya Angelou
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The composer Henrik Dahlgren writes:
”In 2017, I was commissioned by the male voice choir Svanholm Singers to write a work for inclusion in a concert marking 70 years since the proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Choosing a text was difficult. I came across upon a poem by Maya Angelou, but it struck me as being too powerful and emotional for the music I was writing to carry it; everything I composed sounded banal next to Angelou’s words.
I soon realized that I could use silence to enhance the text, rather than heaping layers and layers of music upon it. Silence is both terrifying and serious – in a sense, it is the only adequate counterpoint to the poetry.
So, I decided to build the piece on silence.
Though the beginning of the piece is the opposite of silence – a scream of desperation –, I followed that outburst by cutting the poem’s stanzas into single words, repeated in a different order each time, almost in the manner of a mantra.
Finally, they end up in the right order and suddenly the words take on their rightful meaning. I hope, in this way, the music is equally powerful as the words.
Son to Mother has been well-received and has gone on to become one of the most widely performed pieces I have written. It has been performed at various festivals and in various countries, including Taiwan, France and China – where it only just made it past the government censors.
This version is an adaptation for mixed choir of the original male choir version.” – Henrik Dahlgren
On YouTube you can hear and see Vocal Art Ensemble under Jan Yngwe sing Son to Mother in S:t Jakob’s church, Stockholm, February 2020.
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Latin Hymns. Ave maris stella, Ave Regina, Ave MariaHenrik Dahlgren… and my silence holds every wordSven HagvilAtt seMartin Åsander
Martin GribbeSon to Mother. TTBBHenrik Dahlgren
Maya AngelouHärlig är jorden. SATBSofia Söderberg