Citadel of Softness (2007, 4'). Commissioned by The Manhattan Choral Ensemble.

for SATB. Text in English by Christina Rossetti. Commissioned and premiered by The Manhattan Choral Ensemble, Thomas Cunningham, conductor, NYC.


Citadel of Softness, for chorus SATB, is a setting of a 1848 poem by Christina Rossetti, in which the subject of mortality is addressed in a moving and inspiring way. The beautiful images, drawn from the natural world, make this a poem of life, hope and renewal rather than regret, loss and mourning. In setting the text I tried to keep the vocal lines as clear as possible, in order to emphasize the inherent musicality of the words. The title comes from a personal letter of writer Daniel Weiss. The work was commissioned by and is dedicated to The Manhattan Choral Ensemble and its conductor Tom Cunningham.

When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me;
Plant thou no roses at my head,
Nor shady cypress tree:
Be the green grass above me
With showers and dewdrops wet;
And if thou wilt, remember,
And if thou wilt, forget.

I shall not see the shadows,
I shall not feel the rain;
I shall not hear the nightingale
Sing on, as if in pain:
And dreaming through the twilight
That doth not rise nor set,
Haply I may remember,
And haply I may forget.