Choir 4.5 minutes Music by Shase Hernandez Text by Walt Whitman
As Adam Early in the Morning was written for a choral composition competition. In many ways it is a response to its sister, the solo work called "As Adam Early in the Morning" which was, itself, written for an art song competition. I was intrigued by the text, one of many provided that could be used as the basis for a work in these competitions. In the original work the text was used in a more literal fashion as though one were speaking to another. In this version I expanded on my interpretation of the piece and allowed myself to indulge the religious undertones of the text to further influence it. Angels speak and watch over the supposed "Adam" and "Eve" is introduced even though there is no mention of her in the text.
I found, as I was writing this piece, that at least to one professor of mine that my approach was rather controversial. I appreciated this criticism, however, as it only helped me understand my own relationship to art. For me, I believe that once art leaves the hand of the artist it is now free to be its own thing in the world. Undoubtedly, I have my own intentions and ideas in writing a piece of music but I do not believe that this prevents others from gaining something of their own from it in their personal experience that may or may not agree with my own thoughts on my work. This friction of ideas ultimately pushed me to further explore what the text meant to me. It appeared to have worked as this piece won the choral composition competition and even today it stands as one of few works where I feel truly satisfied with it.
I was immediately struck by the tight form and structure of this piece when I first played through it, and it was further convincing to hear it performed. The cascading "mm" refrain really holds it together, and I admire the restraint and willingness to take [his] time — not selling this text, but serving it.
—An Anonymous Judge's Comments
As Adam Early in the Morning (1860)
Walt Whitman (1819-1892)
As Adam early in the morning,
Walking forth from the bower refresh’d with sleep,
Behold me where I pass, hear my voice, approach,
Touch me touch the palm of your hand to my body as I pass,
Be not afraid of my body.
This recording is a combination of a performance by the International Orange Choral and a composer lead choir. (May the music gods have mercy on my soul for such a recording Frankenstein blasphemy.)
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