chorus, 2 clarinets and cello

That Thomas Aquinas (†1274) — philosopher and theologian who reconciled faith with reason — should also write about music is not surprising. For, in addition to his classical education as a child in medieval Naples, he received musical instruction in the Schola Cantorum at nearby Monte Cassino, the Benedictine monastery founded in 529.

In Paris, as a young Christian scholar, he would write critical texts (the Summæ) and other commentaries, drawing his own conclusions about Arabian-Aristotelian thought. Here, discussions of music occupy a privileged place, including important observations by Boethius and Augustine. On one occasion, even, he considers the significance of quarter-tones!

In my composition, I have chosen a variety of texts that, with respect to music, point to the three Thomistic conditions of beauty — integrity, proportion, and clarity. By way of subtle imagery and compelling metaphors, these words also point to the encounter of faith with reason.

Thanks to a grant from the Canada Council Millennium Program, this work was commissioned by Owen Underhill, of the Vancouver New Music Society, and was written especially for the chamber choir, musica intima. The premiere took place during a Millennium Concert on September 22, 2000 in The Chan Centre, in Vancouver.



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