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But Joy Comes In The Morning - Choral Music Of Margaret Meier


Release Date: 06/17/2008 
Label:  Albany Records   Catalog #: 1026   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Margaret Shelton Meier
Conductor:  Bruce RogersAndreas Baumgartner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ars Brunensis ChorusMt. San Antonio College Chamber SingersMoravian Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 1 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



M. S. MEIER Te Deum. 1 Lifelong. 1 After Great Pain. 1 A SOCSA Quilt 2 Bruce Rogers, cond; 1 Andreas Baumgartner, cond; 2 Mount San Antonio College C Singers; 1 Ars Brunensis Ch; 2 Read more class="ARIAL12"> Moravian PO 2 ALBANY TROY 1026 (60:54)


The title of this disc is actually “. . . but Joy comes in the Morning.” Margaret Shelton Meier has taught at a number of Californian universities and is currently a part-time professor at Mount San Antonio College, Walnut, California. It is, indeed, the excellent choir from this San Antonio college that performs the first three works.


Meier’s music is eminently approachable. Mild Stravinskian dissonances inform her writing, something heard to great effect in the brass fanfares that open the Te Deum of 1987. The composer’s faith seems unshakable, and she ensures that the cry of the cherubim and seraphim (“Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth”) makes its mark in no uncertain terms. The gentle repeated patterns of the third movement, “O Lord, have mercy upon us,” create a sense of sureness, leading to the final, brass-gilded affirmations of “Ever world without end.” Incidentally, the instrumentalists in this piece are uncredited.


The brief Lifelong (2007, to a text by Christina Rossetti) tracks the text’s trajectory faithfully, unsurprisingly finding a moment of light at the words “God is good.” The choir sings this absolutely beautifully. A text by Emily Dickinson fuels After Great Pain (also of 2007), its words holding great resonance with the ideas behind the final work on the disc. Meier’s Dickinson setting is hushed and restrained.


“SOCSA” is an acronym created by the composer. It stands for “Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse,” and the piece tracks the journey of survivors of abuse through post-traumatic shock, healing, and recovery. The metaphor of a quilt in the work’s title enables Meier to structure her tapestry of sound, and each “quilt square” is bordered by a single “color”: texts from the Bible set to a simple theme. The composer herself makes a connection between this technique and that of the Greek Chorus. The bordering colors change from part I (a melody) and part II (a chord progression). Part I ends with a cry of despair, balanced by the joyous conclusion.


Although the first three pieces on the disc are performed by one group and A SOCSA Quilt by another, A SOCSA Quilt actually emerges naturally from the end of After Great Pain. A SOCSA Quilt is an experience of great poignancy, and Meier inserts her Bible quotations to maximum effect. The huge contrast between the emotions of “We are the children who hide” and the peace of “Let the children come unto me” forms the basis of part I, “Horror and Heartache”; again, there is telling contrast between the Biblical “Woe unto him who causes one of my little ones to stumble” against the solo voice of “I’m a witness, a terrified witness.” It is this same soloist that cries, “My God, why have you forsaken me?”


The second part is headed “Healing and Hope.” Almost the first words we hear are, “The truth will set you free.” The choral Sprachgesang of “Take it back!” is effective in its simplicity. As seems fitting, the final two movements are the most extended of the composition: “Wounded Witness” (a plea not to ignore abuse) and “. . . but Joy comes in the Morning.” The very final movement has an almost filmic sense of joyous arrival to it.


This is a brave, disturbing and, certainly in its first part, harrowing work. The Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra (based in Olomouc, Czech Republic) is superb throughout.

FANFARE: Colin Clarke


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Works on This Recording

1.
Te Deum by Margaret Shelton Meier
Conductor:  Bruce Rogers,  Andreas Baumgartner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ars Brunensis Chorus,  Mt. San Antonio College Chamber Singers,  Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Length: 11 Minutes 14 Secs. 
Notes: Composition written: USA (1987 - 1990). 
2.
Lifelong by Margaret Shelton Meier
Conductor:  Bruce Rogers,  Andreas Baumgartner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ars Brunensis Chorus,  Mt. San Antonio College Chamber Singers,  Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2007; USA 
Length: 3 Minutes 21 Secs. 
3.
After Great Pain by Margaret Shelton Meier
Conductor:  Bruce Rogers,  Andreas Baumgartner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ars Brunensis Chorus,  Mt. San Antonio College Chamber Singers,  Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2007; USA 
Length: 3 Minutes 22 Secs. 
4.
A SOCSA [Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse] Quilt by Margaret Shelton Meier
Conductor:  Andreas Baumgartner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ars Brunensis Chorus,  Mt. San Antonio College Chamber Singers,  Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1997; USA 
Length: 38 Minutes 17 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Te Deum: We Praise Thee, O God
Te Deum: Thou Art the King of Glory
Te Deum: O Lord, have Mercy
Lifelong
After Great Pain
A SOCSA Quilt: Part I: Horror and Heartache: We are the Children Who Hide
A SOCSA Quilt: Part I: Horror and Heartache: Let the Children come unto me
A SOCSA Quilt: Part I: Horror and Heartache: If You Tell
A SOCSA Quilt: Part I: Horror and Heartache: Woe to him
A SOCSA Quilt: Part I: Horror and Heartache: Witness
A SOCSA Quilt: Part I: Horror and Heartache: My God, why?
A SOCSA Quilt: Part I: Horror and Heartache: If You Tell
A SOCSA Quilt: Part I: Horror and Heartache: Night after Night
A SOCSA Quilt: Part I: Horror and Heartache: Beautiful Young Girls
A SOCSA Quilt: Part I: Horror and Heartache: Woe to those who call good evil
A SOCSA Quilt: Part I: Horror and Heartache: Rescue Me
A SOCSA Quilt: Part II: Healing and Hope: You will know the truth
A SOCSA Quilt: Part II: Healing and Hope: Take it Back!
A SOCSA Quilt: Part II: Healing and Hope: God has not given us a spirit of fear
A SOCSA Quilt: Part II: Healing and Hope: Lullaby for the Wounded Child
A SOCSA Quilt: Part II: Healing and Hope: God is a God of comfort
A SOCSA Quilt: Part II: Healing and Hope: Wounded Witness
A SOCSA Quilt: Part II: Healing and Hope: ...but Joy Comes in the Morning

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