Commissioned for the St. Olaf Festival in 2011, EVEN WHEN HE IS SILENT is a poignant and introspective choral work. The music is inspired by a short but deeply moving text, written by a Jewish individual hiding during World War II, and found scratched on the wall of a cellar in Cologne, Germany.
The composition begins in stillness, reflecting the profound depth of the words. It gradually builds to a dramatic climax on the phrase "I believe in love," embodying the intense and conflicting emotions of holding onto to it in difficult times. The piece then fades into a more contemplative ending, culminating in a serene acceptance of faith in God, even amidst silence.
The music, with its lush chords and challenging vocal lines, mirrors the text's emotional journey. It requires a depth of interpretation from the singers, offering a rewarding experience that captures the essence of finding hope in the darkest times. The composition reflects on what can be taken away from us, like the sun and love, but it reminds us that even in the bleakest of circumstances, we can hold onto our hope and faith.
Instrumentation: SATB, SSAA, or TTBB div. unaccompanied
Premiered on July 30 by the Nidaros Cathedral Girls' Choir at an event with the bishop of Nidaros Tor Singsås and actress Liv Ullmann. A TTBB version was commissioned and premiered by Chor Leoni in 2017. Arrangments for wind ensemble or brass band are also available.