Here are comments from my website:
When I was asked to write a commissioned piece for the Santa Fe Women’s Ensemble I was determined to write something very special for the group, as they had been so kind as to present other pieces of mine on a number of earlier programs. I have always loved New Mexico, and decided that I would try to write a piece for them that would have a specifically New Mexico flavor. I eventually found and read many poems by New Mexico poets and settled on works by Miriam Sagen, Lonnie Howard, and the late Elizabeth Searle Lamb. Eventually I realized that if I used all of the poems I had selected by these three wonderful writers it would create a piece that might be too long and unwieldy, so I reluctantly dropped the long Sagen poem and all but one of the beautiful haiku by Lamb. I hope to set Miriam Sagen’s poetry in the near future and will also look at more of Elizabeth Lamb’s poetry as well.
The texts are about the winter solstice in New Mexico, a very special time and place. They are not Christmas texts, yet the passing of the winter solstice is, of course, often associated with the Christmas hope of renewal. What I have tried to write, with these poems as inspiration, is “night music”, a genre which I have always loved. Also, while the landscapes are New Mexican, I hope that the beauty of the texts and the winter solstice theme will still attract interest from choir directors and audiences in the larger choral world.
Sherri, Aidan, and I had a great time in Santa Fe during the week of the premiere with our hosts Linda and Jim Beck. Aidan especially enjoyed our own little casita with all its little pathways -- what a magical week! We also met Natalie Goldberg, who now lives in Santa Fe, and whose poetry I have set to music (My Friend Elijah, and Into this World) and really had a great time getting to know the main poet for this piece, Lonnie Howard. Lonnie's energy was so warm and positive -- just a wonderful person in so many ways.