A new moving and innovative work with a message of inclusion, trust, kindness, compassion, humanity, and mutual respect. The work is based on the beatitudes with new lyrics by Charles Anthony Silvestri. As part of its message to embrace our differences, this is a hybrid work with elements from classical, jazz and world music.
- Voices: SATB or SSAA chorus, solo child soprano, solo alto and solo baritone (and opt. solo parts for choristers)
- Duration: 80 minutes
- Instrumentation: Flute, hammered dulcimer/cimbalom (or guitar), harp, percussion (2 players), and strings (6 players if amplified)
- Total number of players: 11 (if amplified)
Our world is a wondrous place; but it is also a deeply troubled place, in need of messages of inclusion, trust, kindness, compassion, humanity, and mutual respect. The texts for this work act as poetic responses to the verses in the traditional Beatitudes from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. The poet has taken each of Jesus’ blessings (Tuvayhun in Aramaic) and crafted a text as if to say, “Yes, and…” These new texts illustrate how that blessing applies in the real world. It seems as though Jesus’ words two millennia ago still resonate, and the types of people he sought to comfort with his blessings are still in need of blessing, and the societal shortcomings he drew attention to then are still challenging us today.
One might think that each of the eight verses in the Beatitudes concerns different groups of people: the poor in spirit, the meek, the peacemakers, the merciful. However, these are not eight different groups of people but are eight moral qualities that all of us can possess. We are all in need of these blessings, and we are all called to act as the agents of blessing. The texts range from a lullaby to a refugee narrative, from folk dance to an anthem of universal human needs and dignity, interspersed with messages of hope and blessings, framed by Jesus’ beatitudes sung in Aramaic. It ends with an exhortation for all of us to let our light shine and be a blessing to others.
The instrumentation is based on what we know about instruments in the biblical period and from the Middle East where the Sermon on the Mount took place. As part of the message to embrace our differences Tuvayhun is a crossover work with elements from classical, jazz and world music. The work was commissioned and premiered by the Manhattan Girls Chorus and conductor Michelle Oesterle, New York City, April 2018.
Charles Anthony Silvestri & Kim André Arnesen
World premiere 27 & 28 April 2018 at Angel Orensanz Center, New York City by the Manhattan Girls Chorus, Michelle Oesterle, Artistic Director.
European premiere 31 March 2019 at Nidaros Cathedral, Trondheim, Norway by the Nidaros Cathedral Girl’s Choir, Anita Brevik, Artistic Director.
The instruments are chosen to create a distinctive soundscape and hybrid musical idiom by combining ancient world instruments with modern, western instruments. With a combination of different compositional styles, performance techniques, and improvisation, this contributes to a work that is genre dissolving and where different cultures and traditions meet.
The flute and the hammered dulcimer/cimbalom (or guitar) parts require a lot of improvisation, preferably by a musician with jazz and/or world music experience.
The hammered dulcimer/cimbalom can be replaced with a guitar with a few adjustments made by the guitarist. The guitarist should make adjustments as close to the original part as possible while making it idiomatic for the instrument. The adjustments may include changing octaves, etc.
The flutist can play any kind of (chromatic) flute, but preferably a flute with a world/ethnic quality from the Middle East or Asia. The kaval is especially recommended, but an Armenian or Bulgarian duduk can also be used. Also, traditional soprano, alto, and tenor recorders can be used, and the flutist can play in any desired octave throughout the work. The bass flute has a world music quality to it and was used at the world premiere together with many different flutes throughout the work. A concert flute can be used if no world flutes are available.
The percussion (2 players) consists of a combination of orchestral percussion (Large tam-tam, tubular bells, bell tree (or triangle), glockenspiel, and thunder sheet), and world percussion (darabuka, riq, frame drum without jingles, and one or more Tibetan temple bowls. Similar instruments can be used depending on availability.
The baritone soloist should preferably be a classical singer, while the alto can be a classical, folk music or jazz singer. The child soloist can be a girl or a boy, and the parts were written for singers aged 13-16.
If amplified, the string section can be performed with 2 violins, 1 viola, 2 cellos, and 1 double bass (1-1-1-2-1). Two cellos are required due to solo passages and divisi.
Due to the nature of the work with elements from different genres and with instruments with big dynamic differences, amplification (sound reinforcement) with a full PA system is recommended for all instruments.
Depending on the soloists, these might need amplification, especially the child soloist(s) and if the alto soloist is not a classical singer. A classical and operatic baritone soloist will usually not require amplification.
The decision about how to use sound reinforcement depends on many factors: Size of space, reverb, audience size, distance from the musicians, etc.
With amplification, there is an opportunity to use careful EQ and compression, especially on the drums. On the thunder sheet, it is recommended to use a large hall reverb.
A proper sound check is strongly recommended as well as involving a sound engineer to consider what’s needed for the specific venue. It is recommended to use a sound engineer with good experience in balancing and mixing amplified signals with the ambient sound. Also, reading music by the engineer or an assistant producer is required to make sure solo passages are being brought out, etc.
The key to a successful performance is making sure the players can hear themselves and each other (monitoring) without too much of the amplified sound compared to the choir. Attention must be paid to the correct miking of the instruments.
As an alternative to an entire hall speaker system, having amplification over speakers close the instrument itself (like an LD Systems MAUI5) would keep the position of the instrument in the sound image.
The world premiere and European premiere included choreography. This is not necessary for the performance but using such elements can substantiate the message of the texts and the work's dramaturgy. A 'dramatic performance license' is required to perform the work with choreography. Some ceremonial elements and symbols can be used when the baritone soloists perform the Beatitudes at the beginning of the movements (lighting a candle, etc.).
Note: A dramatic performance license is required for any performances using choreography, dancing, stage action, etc. Request a license by filling out this form.
DELIVERY AND TERMS
The score is delivered in a digital PDF format as a portrait tabloid paper size (11 x 17"/280 x 432 mm), 140 pages (SATB)/128 pages (SSAA).
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Instrumental parts are available on request.
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