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.
Listen to examples from Sistrum’s CD Dancing Naked at the Edge of Dawn, released in 2010 on Blue Griffin Recording, Inc.