for mixed chorus, solo cello, synthesizer (or vibraphone) (1996)
from the choral cycle Silent Night
- Premiere: 20 April 1997 / Cathedral Church of St. Matthew the Apostle, Washington, DC / Robert LaRue, cello / American Repertory Singers / Leo Nestor
- Instrumentation: SATB.vlc.synth. (or vibr.)
- Duration: 6'
- Text: Joseph Mohr (1724-1848), tr. John Freeman Young (1820-1910)
Part of the choral suite Silent Night commissioned by ECS Publishing. The tune that serves as the (substantially varied) basis for this work is by Franz Xaver Gruber (1787-1863). A gentle gracenote to this re-interpretation of the Gruber tune is Hagen's overlay of the melody 'Somewhere' ('There's a place for us') by Leonard Bernstein in the final measures.
The aesthetic goal was to create reinterpretations of familiar carols that, as Brian Eno described ambient music, "accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular" — that is, music that is "as ignorable as it is interesting."
The "reinterpretations" were made during December of 1996 at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and premiered, in recording sessions at the Cathedral Church of St. Matthew the Apostle, Washington, DC on 20 April 1997 by the American Repertory Singers, conducted by Music Director Leo Nestor, Robert LaRue, cellist.
I hope that the contemplative and intimate musical space created by these carols in performance together fulfills the function of helping each of us to reconnect at this important time of year with the reason they were created and sung in the first place.
— Daron Hagen, 1997