SSAATTBB chorus, baritone solo (from chorus) piano (2 or 4 hands) or orchestra: flute (doubles piccolo), English horn, bassoon, horn, 2 percussion: [1 - vibraphone, tam-tam (large), marimba], [2 - orchestra bells, triangle (medium), suspended cymbal, tambourine, temple blocks, tubular bells], keyboard (piano and celeste), timpani, string quartet
Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois
March 25, 2003 by Hakan Hagegard, baritone; the Augustana Choir and the Augustana Chamber Orchestra; at Augustana College, Rock Island, IL
Libby Larsen Publishing
Come Before Winter is a celebration of the richness of life experience that is given to us through the commitment to life-long friendships. The piece is structured around Arthur Mampel’s poem Come Before Winter. The text of the poem asks simply and elegantly for the gift of companionship especially during the inconvenient moments of one’s life. I wondered why the word “inconvenient” is featured in Art Mampel’s call to the act of being a friend. He says “Come at an inconvenient hour, just before you can … convenience is seldom the right visit, but we are made real by sacrifice.” Then I realized that it’s during inconvenience that the attentive friendship is made real: the inconvenience of setting aside one’s personal agenda, the inconvenience of visiting under personal duress, the inconvenience of leadership, and the inconvenience of unconditional faith. What Mampel is telling us is that in accepting the opportunity for sacrifice, we are also given the gift of understanding what it means to love.
Bearing witness to the Mampel’s poetic sermon, are four hymns woven into the fabric of the music. These are Bless Be the Tie That Binds, Children of the Heavenly Father, Love Consecrates the Humblest Act, and A Mighty Fortress is Our God. With this piece I hope to create the feeling of a gentle sermon (the soloist) given to a loving congregation (the choir).
Libby Larsen 2003