Winter Stars

This piece was created in 2018 for a Christmas concert with a women's ensemble, in which, in addition to this piece, Britten's "Ceremony of Carols" and another piece by me, "Alone in the night", were performed.

The piece is based on the text "Winter Stars" by Sara Teasdale. Like many of Teasdale's poems, this is about a suffering person who looks to the sky and finds comfort in the constancy and beauty of the stars.

Musically, the piece uses a longer theme, which is initially performed by a soloist, while the harp only accompanies very discreetly with individual notes. Little by little the rest of the women's choir joins in and forms increasingly full harmonies under the solo.

The subsequent middle section leaves the depressive mood of the opening section and switches to major, exactly at the moment when the lyrical self raises its head and looks at the stars. The harp accompaniment now also becomes more lively and the thought of a happy childhood drives away the worries of the lyrical self.

At the end, the original theme from the beginning returns, now performed in unison by the entire women's choir, symbolizing the immutability of the stars. With the last word "stars" the choir fans out into an ethereally floating major chord.

"Winter Stars", by Sara Teasdale (1884-1933):

I went out at night alone;

The young blood flowing beyond the sea

Seemed to have drenched my spirit’s wings—

I bore my sorrow heavily.

But when I lifted up my head

From shadows shaken on the snow,

I saw Orion in the east

Burn steadily as long ago.

From windows in my father’s house,

Dreaming my dreams on winter nights,

I watched Orion as a girl

Above another city’s lights.

Years go, dreams go, and youth goes too,

The world’s heart breaks beneath its wars,

All things are changed, save in the east

The faithful beauty of the stars.

Choir: soprano solo, SSAA, harp

Length: 6.5 min

Womens choir of the Rhineland-Palatinate Youth Choir, harp: Clara Simarro Röll, Conductor: Julian Mörth, 2018