Evening Star (choir + piano)

For a change, I decided to set a fairly well-known poem for choir: Evening Star by Poe.

The piece is a draft right now (and the sound file is just MIDI--maybe I'll make a better recording with wordbuilder or a real choir in the future). I'm curious about a few things:

-Does it ever feel too harmonically stagnant? (This is my first piece since high school--10 years ago now--that doesn't really modulate. The whole thing is centered around C in one way or another, but I'm hoping the modal shifts and varied cadences keep things interesting)

-What do you think about my notating the piece in 3/4? Since it's usually 1 beat per measure, I'm concerned that the current notation doesn't really show the larger groupings of beats, and worried that this may make it difficult for the conductor to figure out how to shape the phrases. I'm toying with the idea of halving all the rhythmic values (e.g. the current quarter note becomes the 8th note, and so on) and re-writing the whole thing in 6/8 and 9/8... do you think this is necessary?

Any other feedback about form, text setting, etc. is welcome!

’Twas noontide of summer,

And mid-time of night;

And stars, in their orbits,

Shone pale, thro’ the light

Of the brighter, cold moon,

’Mid planets her slaves,

Herself in the Heavens,

Her beam on the waves.

I gaz’d awhile

On her cold smile;

Too cold — too cold for me —

There pass’d, as a shroud,

A fleecy cloud,

And I turn’d away to thee,

Proud Evening Star,

In thy glory afar,

And dearer thy beam shall be;

For joy to my heart

Is the proud part

Thou bearest in Heav’n at night,

And more I admire

Thy distant fire,

Than that colder, lowly light.

Edgar Allan Poe

Evening Star MIDI.mp3


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  • Nicholas,

    I think this is quite beautiful, with some very good and rich harmonies. There's this peaceful spirit (quietly eventful) that I much appreciated.

    I tried to imagine how it will sound when sung by real people.  It'd be interesting to hear it sung, and I'd be curious about how it sounds the overlap of the verses between voices (as indicated in the score draft).


  • Mariza, thanks for your kind words. Choral music is particularly difficult to digest in MIDI files (the sound file itself doesn't tell you much, so you have to read along in the score and try to imagine what the actual words sound like) and I appreciate your taking the time to do this.

    Hopefully there will be a live performance of this eventually. I'm finally being more proactive about sending my stuff to competitions and publishers, so... we'll see!

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