Keynote Choral Festival Series
by Dale Jergenson
SATB chorus, Orchestra
Laurendale Associates


Review from The Choral Journal, October, 1997

Reflections, a cantata for mixed chorus and orchestra, was commissioned by Keynote Arts Associates for premiere at the Keynote Pacific Choral Festival in 1994. The performance time is approximately eight minutes, and the piece is scored for SATB choir, two trumpets, two French horns, strings, percussion, and harp (or piano). A note on the back cover indicates that the orchestration is designed to be compatible with that of Fauré's Requiem. The full score and parts are available on a rental basis, and the full score (CH-1090) is also available for purchase.

The anonymous text, in English, is of fifteenth-century Mesoamerican origin. It comprises a series of five short contemplative statements about life, nature, and song. The images of blooms bursting forth are compared with the bursting forth of songs from the writer's soul and are depicted musically with dynamic crescendos and climaxing harmonic sequences. Word painting plays an important part in the compositional style of the piece.

In the second section the text "I compose songs, butterflies of song" is illustrated with moving eight-note figures in each voice part and in the orchestra. The 4/4 meter is interspersed with a few bars in 7/8 in a ten-bar orchestral interlude, which sets up a climactic point highlighting the text "let them burst forth from my soul." The section moves to another climax with the words "the lovely songs."

An average high school choir should be able to perform this piece quite easily, and the text and musical setting would be enjoyable for this age group as well. The tessituras are not extreme, and though the basses have a sustained D, it is doubled one octave higher, and the lower pitch could be omitted. Vocal writing is moderately easy throughout and should cause few difficulties.

Review by Sara Lynn Baird