work details

Splitting the Sunlight

  • Instrumentation: SATB, trumpet, piano
  • Completed: July 2021
  • Duration: 6 1/2 minutes
  • Texts: Text adapted by the composer from Amy Lowell's "The Trumpet-Vine Arbour"
  • Commission:

    Commissioned by Truman State University for the 2021 North Star Music Festival
    and premiered by Cantoria, Dr. Mark Jennings, director

  • Composer's Note:

    Sometimes the most fruitful collaborations arise from serendipity!

    It was in the Summer of 2019 that my husband and I were attending an Independence Day Cookout at the home of our dear friends, Melissa and Eric Dickson. At that same party, I had the good fortune of meeting Victor Marquez-Barrios, who is Eric’s colleague on the music faculty at Truman State University. It was a few months later that Victor reached out to me and asked if I would be willing to be the composer-in-residence for their annual North Star Music Festival, which—in addition to a performance of pieces from throughout my catalog—would include a new commissioned work for Mark Jennings and the choir, Cantoria.

    As I was searching for texts for this new collaboration, I stumbled upon Amy Lowell’s “The Trumpet-Vine Arbour” from her wonderful 1916 collection Men, Women, and Ghosts. Lowell has long been an inspiration for me because of her evocative Imagist poetry, and this poem was no exception. Since it was a little lengthy for our project here, I adapted the text to focus on its most brilliant and majestic moments, which I hoped would pair nicely with the addition of the trumpet – allowing the collaboration to come full circle and feature Eric Dickson as performer in the final work.

    Splitting the Sunlight is a work about the inspiration of creation in the observed wonder of nature. It is playful and ferocious, imbued with fire, flourish, and a relentless momentum. And it is dedicated fondly to Victor, Eric, and Melissa, in gratitude for the seeds planted at a summer gathering two years ago.

    -- Dominick DiOrio, July 2021

  • Text:

    Text adapted by the composer from Amy Lowell’s “The Trumpet-Vine Arbour” (1916)

     

    Red! Red! Coarse notes of red,
    Trumpeted at the blue sky.

    Clang!—its red and yellow trumpets.
    Clang!—its long and nasal trumpets,
                Splitting the sunlight into ribbons…

    I sit in the cool arbour, in a green-and-gold twilight.
    It is very still, for I cannot hear the trumpets,
    I only know that they are red and open…
                The sun above the arbour shakes with heat.

    My quill is newly mended…
    My heart is strained out…
    My hand marches down the paper to a squealing of fifes…

    Red! Red! Coarse notes of red,
                Trumpeted at the blue sky.

    Clang!—its red and yellow trumpets.
    Clang!—its long and nasal trumpets,
                Splitting the sunlight into ribbons,
                Tattered and shot with noise.

    Red! Red! Red and open!
    The clangour of brass beats against the hot sunlight!
    Red! Clang! Red! Clang!

    Red!

  • Performances:
    • October 9, 2021 (Premiere)
      Cantoria
      Dr. Mark Jennings, conductor
      Eric Dickson, trumpet
      Ophelia Parrish Performance Hall - Truman State University - Kirksville, Missouri