Prayer (2014)

For SATB choir

Text by Kevin John Hart
Taken from: “Wild Track – New and selected poems” – University of Notre Dame press 2015, ISBN: 978-0-268-01121-5

“Prayer” was written in early 2014, after another choir project didn’t go as well as I had hoped. I was pretty frustrated after the project came to an unexpected halt, and I had quite a lot of time invested in a piece I wouldn’t be using anymore. Seeing my frustration, my teacher, Wim Henderickx, suggested me to write a new choir piece, on a text I would choose myself, and not taking into account the restrictions from the previous project. He called it a “revenge” choir piece, and the challenge was to write a good piece for choir, which was truly my own.

After some searching, I found the poem “Prayer” by Kevin John Hart. And even though I kept looking for a text, I came back to this first text all the time, because there were a couple of things that intrigued me. First of all, the structure of the text gave me musical ideas right from the start. Where the larger verses tend to get “darker” during the course of the poem, the intersecting sentences are getting more “light” as the text progresses. Secondly, the text was from a Christian poet, and I interpreted its content therefore as being Christian as well. However, when you don’t know this fact, the content could be interpreted in numerous ways, and not necessarily from a Christian perspective. And finally, when I had decided I would use the text, the music came very naturally. It felt as if the text was writing the music itself, and the notes were already there.

In my enthusiasm about the text, the piece was finished before I had asked mr. Hart if I could set the text to music. However after I had sent one, very nervous, e-mail, he kindly agreed and gave his consent. The “revenge” was now complete and morally acceptable.

“The best revenge is to live on and prove yourself”
Eddie Vedder

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