Commissioned by Mixtum & Anita Andersson
Hymn (mixed choir)
Edgar Allan Poe’s poem appeals to me, it is so very versatile. At the same time as it expresses hope for a brighter future, there is a certain darkness and seriousness. The lyrics stem from a song sung by the character Morella in Poe’s short story with the same name, which was also published as a stand-alone poem with the title “A Catholic Hymn”. In a letter, Poe revised the title by crossing out the word “Catholic”, which leads us to this current title: “A Hymn”. The perfect opportunity to make use of this poem that had been tucked away in a drawer for many years appeared when my former mentor and now close friend, Anita Andersson, asked me to compose a piece for one of her youth choirs. We both knew that we wanted a “semi-sacred” text, and it was important that the piece would work both in a sacred context and as concert music. Poe’s poem was perfect! To me, personally, the words evoke certain images: A dramatic coastline where a storm slowly builds on the horizon. A woman sings a tribute to Mother Mary which is, at first, very clear, but which becomes increasingly obscured by the approaching storm. The storm passes and all that is left is the sound of the waves lapping the shore. Poe’s poem is timeless, a beacon of hope for a brighter future. This piece was originally written for mixed voices, and was later transcribed in a version for female voices.