The Tapestry Singers perform Jenni Brandon’s “Dark Hills” on Saturday, June 6, 2020, at 7:30 PM and June 7, 2020, at 4:00 PM. The performances are at St. Patrick’s Church, 380 Academy Hill Road, Newcastle, Maine. Tickets are purchased on-line for $15 plus a $1.00 surcharge, students are admitted free.
Tapestry Singers program is dedicated to the celebration of the Maine Bicentennial. The music selections are an attempt to honor as many cultures as possible and to include pieces that are both straight-ahead choral and folk arrangements. The pieces have lyrics of Maine poets H.W. Longfellow, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Edwin Arlington Robinson (“Dark Hills” – Jenni Brandon), and Philip Booth. The folk songs give nods to lumberjacks, potato farmers, seafarers, and the French. There is also a Water Song sung both in Algonquin and Penobscot. The Singers also will reprise two Scottish folk songs by Mack Wilberg.
Jenni’s “The Dark Hills” for SATB choir, oboe, and piano is from the poetry of The Dark Hills by Edwin Arlington Robinson. The poem offers a beautiful picture of evening settling on the hills, or of the quiet that comes at that moment just before dark falls completely over the land.
The oboe’s voice in the piece represents not only the oncoming evening in the hills, but also the voice of the ‘old bones of warriors underground.’ As the choir sings Arlington’s wonderful poem, the oboe weaves in and out of the texture, creating a voice of the ages. The addition of the simple but important piano accompaniment supports the voices of the choir and the oboe as they tell of the hope for the end of all wars.
Dark hills at evening in the west,
Where sunset hovers like a sound
Of golden horns that sang to rest
Old bones of warriors under ground,
Far now from all the bannered ways
Where flash the legions of the sun,
You fade – as if the last of days
Were fading, and all wars were done.
from The Three Taverns. New York: Macmillan 1920.
Work is in the public domain.