for mixed choir (SATB with divisi) & piano
Text: English (James Weldon Johnson)
If there is one thing anyone who has sung in a choir (or other context) knows, it is how singing can “turn the gloom to cheerful day”, as James Weldon Johnson writes in his poem. We know it from our own experience, but it is even scientifically proven. There are many reasons to sing, and one of them is to bring light into our surroundings powered by our very own voices. And if someone does not think of themself as a singer, I feel quite confident that Johnson’s poem will make them want to sing at the top of their voice!
Sometimes the mist overhangs my path,
And blackening clouds about me cling;
But, oh, I have a magic way
To turn the gloom to cheerful day –
I softly sing.
And if the way grows darker still,
Shadowed by Sorrow’s somber wing,
With glad defiance in my throat,
I pierce the darkness with a note,
And sing, and sing.
I brood not over the broken past,
Nor dread whatever time may bring;
No nights are dark, no days are long,
While in my heart there swells a song,
And I can sing.
James Weldon Johnson
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.