work details

I Tell The Story

on an anonymous poem, "I Am Music"

  • Instrumentation: SATB and piano
  • Completed: July 2016
  • Duration: 5 minutes
  • Texts: Anonymous poem, "I Am Music" c. 1919, adapted for music by D. DiOrio
  • Audio:
  • Score Preview:
  • Commission and Dedication:

    Commissioned by and dedicated to the Handel Society of Dartmouth College; Robert Duff, conductor, and in honor of Margaret Robinson and her 37 years as a member of the Handel Society

  • Published:

    Hal Leonard, Craig Hella Johnson Choral Series (Click to purchase)

  • Program Note:

    The more I write music, the more I feel compelled to find texts that speak to me with a sense of immediacy and poignancy. Such is the case with the text set here, an anonymous poem from early in the 20th century that I have refashioned and reordered to create a flow for the music.

    As the poem says better than I can, music truly is a magical art. It has the power to move and transform us. It gives deeper meaning to the important milestones of our lives. It gives voice to feelings and emotions too complex to put into words.

    I am honored to write this work in honor of Margaret Robinson, a long time member of the Handel Society of Dartmouth College. With her service, gratitude, and joy in music, she has made a lasting impact on the singers of the Handel Society. This work is commissioned and dedicated to that same ensemble and their conductor, Robert Duff, for allowing me the chance to create music that will continue to move and inspire many for years to come. 

  • Text:

    Anonymous poem, c. 1919
    Adapted for musical setting by D. DiOrio

    Servant and master am I;
    servant of the dead,
    and master of the living.

    I am music.

    I tell the story of love.
    I tell the story of hate.
    I tell the story that saves.

    I am music.

    I am close to the marriage altar,
    and when the graves open
    I stand nearby.

    I am music.

    I call the wanderer home.
    I rescue the soul from the depths,
    I open the lips of the lovers.

    I am music.

    I am the incense upon which prayers float to Heaven.
    For I am the instrument of God.

  • Performances:
    • November 15, 2016 (premiere)
      Handel Society of Dartmouth College
      Robert Duff, conductor
      Dartmouth College - Hanover, NH