for mixed choir (SATB with divisi) & piano
Text: English (Howard Thurman)
Duration: 4 minutes
I will light candles this Christmas was commissioned by Celia Ellingson through LutheranArts in honor of Gary Aamodt’s 80th Birthday, December 25, 2017, and dedicated to the annual St Olaf College Christmas Festival.
Versions with full orchestra and small orchestra accompaniment are available from the publisher. The choral parts are the same in all versions.
Advent and Christmas are times of excitement and celebration. However, it is difficult not to see the darkness of the world. Where the treetops glisten and behind the toys and goodies it can be cold and unsafe. And it is in darkness that we need light. The candle can light our hope and remind us that we are much more than what is darkest in our lives. Therefore this time of the year can be one of light over the darkness. I hope the message in this carol can guide us to become carriers of a light that brings joy, hope, courage, peace, grace, and love, now and when the star dims. “Let your light shine before others” (The Sermon on the Mount).
I will light Candles this Christmas;
Candles of joy despite all sadness,
Candles of hope where despair keeps watch,
Candles of courage for fears ever present,
Candles of peace for tempest-tossed days,
Candles of grace to ease heavy burdens,
Candles of love to inspire all my living,
Candles that will burn all year long.
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among others,
To make music in the heart.
Howard Thurman (1899–1981)
Kim André Arnesen
Arnesen is one of the most frequently performed composers from Norway today. He grew up in Trondheim where he was a chorister in the Nidaros Cathedral Boys’ Choir, later being educated at the Music Conservatory in Trondheim. With an interest in baroque music, contemporary classical music, and popular music, Kim could have taken many roads, but choral music became his greatest passion. As a composer, he had his first performance at the age of 18 with the boys’ choir. Since then he has written music that has been performed and recorded by choirs all over the world. In 2015–16, Kim was Composer-in-residence for the Denver-based choral ensemble Kantorei and Artistic Director Joel Rinsema. The residency concluded with the recording of Kim’s second CD album released in early 2018 on Naxos Records. He continues to enjoy a busy international schedule of commissions.