Tallowdale

'A Promise' for Double Choir & Piano by Jonathan Billingham

  • 'A Promise' for Double Choir & Piano by Jonathan Billingham

Tallowdale

'A Promise' for Double Choir & Piano by Jonathan Billingham

Description

Jonathan L. Billingham wrote A Promise for Double Choir & Piano in 2013 | Duration 8 mins

 

The musical style is dominated by richly layered vocal harmonies and the melodic interplay between the choirs and the piano. Here Billingham has fused elements from both traditional and contemporary choral genres to create a captivating work. A Promise is sometimes reminiscent of the English choral tradition but at the same time evokes a sense that it has been written for a cinematic employment of choral forces. The composer has embraced clear tonal centres and memorable, melodic motifs and where dissonance and sometimes-modal passages emerge, these are resolved beautifully. A Promise stands out as an Australian work revealing Billingham to be more in the ilk of Nigel Westlake than someone like Peter Sculthorpe.

This premiere performance was recorded live at the Sir John Clancy Auditorium during the 2013 Festival of Carols at The University of New South Wales. The performance was conducted by Sonia Maddock and featured both the Burgundian Consort and Collegium Musicum Choirs of The University of New South Wales with acclaimed pianist, Patrick Keith, all to a very warm reception.

A Promise - About the Text

The text for this powerful work of sacred music is written by the composer and is based on the interwoven themes from several biblical texts including John 1, 2 Peter 3 and 1 Corinthians 13.

Over the arc of the text the mysterious and everlasting nature of the ‘promise’ – the ‘light of the word’ - is contrasted with the supposedly constant ‘world’ – the Earth, which ‘spins round and out, and on and on, out of control’. All together, the lyrics form a thoughtful and prayerful petition for ‘light to shine in the darkness’. But could the light have already shone, ‘born as a child’? How long will it be until the light of the promise shines again?

A Promise - The Text by Jonathan L. Billingham

A Promise
A Promise in shadow
In shadow
O, Light, shine in the darkness
 
A promise spoken by prophets
A promise guarded by angels forever
 
Where? Where is the ‘coming’?
Where? Where is this ‘coming’ long promised?
Long promised
 
The world goes on and on and on and on
The world goes on as it always has
As it always
Has it always?
The world goes on as it has always
Since the beginning
 
The world goes on and on
Round and round it goes for now (I know in part)
The world goes on
Where is the light of the word?
As the Earth spins round and out and on and on
Out of control
Planted firmly out in space all on our own
Where is the light of the promise?
Is it hidden in the light?
 
Now I know in part
Then I shall know fully
Even as I am fully known
 
Remember a promise
 
“With the Lord a day is like a thousand years
A thousand years is like day”
 
Remember the words spoken in the past
By the holy prophets
And by the saviour through the apostles:
 
“With the Lord a day is like a thousand years
A thousand years is like day”
 
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promises
The Lord is patient still
 
Do not forget
He is patient
Do not forget
He is coming
 
And three things will remain
Faith, hope and love
 
O Light of the promise
Born as a child
Shine now in the darkness
We approach the world without end
 
O light of the promise
Love that never fails
Shine into the darkness
You who shine forever
© 2013 - Music & Lyrics by Jonathan L Billingham, All rights Reserved, Tallowdale Music