mixed chorus, soprano solo, chamber ensemble (2001) 25″
seven movements (excerpts available)
lyrics by various young poets
published by Sweet Child Music
- commissioned by the Monmouth Civic Chorus
- American Music Center Margaret Fairbank Jory Copying Grant, 2001
Fill My Dreams, Stir My Soul represents a step in the evolution of my musical style. Compared to much of my earlier work, it is more approachable in style: less dissonant, more lyrical, and less reliant on dramatic gestures. This arose partly out of a conscious desire to explore this mode of expression, and to reach out to a broader range of performers and audiences. But it also arose because it seemed the most appropriate way to reflect the poetry that was selected for the cantata.
The seven poems of the cantata were selected as winners of a poetry contest for NJ high school students, administered by the Monmouth Civic Chorus. The text is thus a collection of poems, rather than a “cycle” (which would present a common theme or plot). However, the poems seemed to naturally group themselves around three broad themes: family (A Walk and Lullaby); love and friendship (Mix Me Up, Keeping Your Love, and You Lied); and growing out of the innocence of youth into the discovery of one’s own identity (Sweet Rose Petals and Song of My Dreams). These themes were also reflected in many of the other poems submitted to the contest.
Because it was written for a community chorus, it is not overly difficult. Some of the movements stand well on their own, or can be grouped into shorter excerpts.