The Hidden Soul of Harmony

Ever, against eating cares,
Lap me in soft Lydian airs,
Married to immortal verse,
Such as the meeting soul may pierce,
In notes with many a winding bout
Of linked sweetness long drawn out
With wanton heed and giddy cunning,
The melting voice through mazes running,
Untwisting all the chains that tie
The hidden soul of harmony;
That Orpheus’ self may heave his head
From golden slumber on a bed
Of heaped Elysian flowers, and hear
Such strains as would have won the ear
Of Pluto to have quite set free
His half-regained Eurydice.

-John Milton (1608-1674), from “L’Allegro”

The Hidden Soul of Harmony was composed for an early music ensemble, specifically the Newberry Consort and the wonderfully gifted soprano Ellen Hargis.  It is a tribute from a modern composer to early music that has inspired me, and the piece brims with little references to historical styles, techniques, and composers that I especially love, with extra touches of my own particular style.  The result, I hope, is an alliance of old and new that pays tribute to the past while looking ahead to a future where music will continue to win the ear.


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