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John Harbison

Publisher: AMP

A Clear Midnight (2007)
Text Writer
English; Auer Hall
Associated Music Publishers Inc
Chorus and Orchestra/Ensemble
Year Composed
9 Minutes
TTBB chorus
Programme Note
John Harbison A Clear Midnight (2007)
29 March 2009
Pro Arte Singers
John Poole, conductor
Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

A Clear Midnight, texts by Walt Whitman, was commissioned by the Georgina Joshi Foundation in memory of Chris Carducci, Garth Eppley, Georgina Joshi, Zachary Novak, and Robert Samels.

The five young singers memorialized in this piece were killed in a plane crash on April 20, 2006. This event is a devastating tragedy for the friends and families of these gifted musicians, and for the entire community at Indiana University.

It was my great privilege to work with Georgina Joshi when she sang my Due Libri with the School of Music’s New Music Ensemble on April 13, 2006. Another singer had canceled on very short notice.

When I was told that a different singer had “agreed to fill in” I had the feelings of stoic resignation that such situations require. I was stunned when, at the rehearsal, Georgina Joshi not only had the “basics” of the piece in perfect order, but was truly inhabiting the music, singing with character, poise, and subtlety.

In a brief time after the concert with both Georgina and her parents, I got a glimpse of the inner radiance which animated the mature vocal artistry we had just experienced.

In making this short cantata, A Clear Midnight, I have tried to give voice to what I perceived to be Georgina Joshi’s bold and generous character, as well as to create in musical terms the comradely spirit, the love of collaboration and harmony evident among these five friends. I am grateful to many at the Indiana University School of Music for their guidance and support as I undertook this project. I am especially grateful to Louise Addicott for convincing me to seek a music which could occupy some of the distances created by this great loss.

--John Harbison

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