Program Note for A Stable Lamp is Lighted

This work was commissioned by the Parker Chapel for Trinity's Christmas Vespers (Dec. 1992) and written for the combined Trinity Choirs.  The text by Richard Wilber ("A Christmas Hymn") was both appropriate and direct, and suggested a strophic or cyclical form.  Also, the words in the poem "... and every stone shall cry" held a two-fold meaning, that of both weeping and praising.  I thought it might be possible to express both of these sentiments with the same type of music, depending, of course, on context.  For this reason, and for the sake of simplicity, the choir uses similar material for each verse while the organ and oboe changes their material for variety and color.  A modal flavor helps make the work both accessible but fresh.