work details

Chrysopylae

  • Instrumentation: SATB (divisi) a cappella
  • Completed: December 2011
  • Duration: 4 minutes
  • Texts: Prudentius (348-413), excerpt from a hymn; Thomas Hood (1799-1845), excerpt from "Gold!"; Joseph Baermann Strauss (1870-1938), excerpts from two poems, "The Mighty Task is Done" and "The Golden Gate Bridge"
  • Audio:
  • Press:
  • Published:

    Santa Barbara Music Publishing (click to purchase)

  • Prize:

    First-prize winner of the International Orange Chorale of San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary Composer Competition

  • Program Note:

    I learned of the International Orange Chorale of San Francisco Choral Composition Competition from Jeremy Faust, who helped to found the ensemble in 2003. I was very privileged to conduct this fine chorus during the Chorus America Conducting Master Class with Ragnar Bohlin held at the National Conference in San Francisco in June 2011. Naturally, I felt a strong urge to write for the ensemble and contribute a piece to the competition.

    The title of the work, Chrysopylae, comes from the journal of John C. Frémont who wrote in 1846: “To this Gate I gave the name of "Chrysopylae", or "Golden Gate"; for the same reasons that the harbor of Byzantium was called Chrysoceras, or Golden Horn." I do not set this text in the work, but instead I rely on four other texts that deal with this landmark and its history: an excerpt from the poem “Gold!” by British poet Thomas Hood—which was printed in the San Francisco business directory and mercantile guide for 1864-1865—; two excerpts from poems by the chief engineer of the Golden Gate Bridge Joseph Baermann Strauss that were written upon the completion of the Bridge in 1937; and a short Latin phrase by Prudentius from the late 4th century that serves as a general acclamation and frame for the other texts. My musical setting is bold, colorful, and forthright, a suitable mirror in sound for the architecture and majesty of this mighty overpass.   

  • Performances:
    • May 27, 2012 (Premiere)
      75th Anniversary Celebration of the Golden Gate Bridge
      International Orange Chorale of San Francisco
      Zane Fiala, artistic director
      Crissy Field, Golden Gate Bridge Park - San Francisco, CA
    • June 22, 2012
      "Freshly Squeezed: New Music from Today's Premium Composers" 
      International Orange Chorale of San Francisco
      Zane Fiala, artistic director 
      Solarium Atrium - 55 2nd Street - San Francisco, CA
    • June 23, 2012
      "Freshly Squeezed: New Music from Today's Premium Composers" 
      International Orange Chorale of San Francisco
      Zane Fiala, artistic director 
      First Unitarian Church - 1187 Franklin Street - San Francisco, CA
    • July 26, 2014
      "By Popular Demand: A Concert of Audience Favorites"
      International Orange Chorale of San Francisco
      Zane Fiala, artistic director
      All Souls Episcopal Parish - 2220 Cedar St. - Berkeley, CA
    • July 27, 2014
      "By Popular Demand: A Concert of Audience Favorites"
      International Orange Chorale of San Francisco
      Zane Fiala, artistic director
      St. Matthew's Lutheran Church - 3281 16th St - San Francisco, CA