Escape
SA(T)B Chorus and Descant

$2.oo  per score

About the Work

Escape was written in 2015 for the ACDA Summer Institute in Tacoma, Washington.

Program Notes

In Escape at Bedtime, I chose to focus on the feelings of joy and carefree wonder that a boy experiences while gazing at the stars. The poet, Robert Louis Stevenson, tells a story of a boy who escapes from his room to see the night sky. By musically depicting Stevenson’s portrayal of the stars, my hope was to capture their glorious splendor as seen through the viewpoint of a child’s imagination.

To signify the upward motion of gazing at the starry sky, each stanza begins a half-step higher than the last, and to describe the shimmery quality of the stars, I used quick arpeggiations in the piano, such as on the text “glittered and winked in the dark.” To express the boy’s alarm as he is chased and captured, the tempo accelerates on the text “They saw me at last and they chased me with cries,” with louder dynamics and an almost howling-like quality in the first soprano line. Then, on the text, “And the stars going round in my head,” I repeated a chromatic motive set in canon by the upper voices, while the tenors and basses sing “There were thousands of millions of stars,” to depict the dizzying effect of dancing stars.

Text

The lights from the parlour and kitchen shone out 
Through the blinds and the windows and bars; 
And high overhead and all moving about, 
There were thousands of millions of stars. 

 
There ne'er were such thousands of leaves on a tree, 
Nor of people in church or the Park, 
As the crowds of the stars that looked down upon me, 
And that glittered and winked in the dark. 

The Dog, and the Plough, and the Hunter, and all, 
And the star of the sailor, and Mars, 
These shown in the sky, and the pail by the wall 
Would be half full of water and stars. 

 
They saw me at last, and they chased me with cries, 
And they soon had me packed into bed; 
But the glory kept shining and bright in my eyes, 
And the stars going round in my head.
Rober Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)