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Moonset


Moonset

No one cried when the lesser light died We did not sound the trumpets at your passing

We just arose as on a thousand other days

And went about our business

And we were asleep, and did not know We were asleep, and did not acknowledge

How you watched through the night with the stars all around

And set your face against the darkness

How you stood your ground

And gave your gentle light

To the night hunters

And to those who watch and wait

To the sleepwalkers

And the sentry at the gate

To the men of shifting shadows

To the dreamers small and great

You have seen so much of love

You have seen so much of hate

Oh, you did not go as the sun goes

Burning out in an audacity of color

But you watched and waited until the new light came to stay

And gently faded Into the day.

Erica D. Chien


Moonset Program Notes

Few goodbyes are as grand as that which the sun bestows at the close of day. People gather as the night begins to fall, to witness extravagant colors cloak the horizon in splendor before fading into darkness and mystery.  But who notices, the next morning, the setting of the moon?  We are only conscious that it is time to get up again, to do the things of ordinary life. In 1993, our grandmother passed away from cancer. It was our first death in the family, preceded by many months of emotional preparation. She was loving, generous, sociable, and wholly involved in bringing the family together for as many occasions as possible. She spent her last hours surrounded by family, who had gathered from near and far — a drawn-out sunset before her final, eternal night. Her husband, our grandfather, was quiet — mostly silent, in fact, as he was very hard of hearing even when we were children. He died in his sleep almost exactly a month after our grandmother, without warning, without protest, without company. We were impersonally notified the next morning by long-distance phone call from the caregivers at the facility where he was living, and his funeral felt like an afterthought in the wake of our family’s mourning for our grandmother. And yet -- he had nearly 90 years of a life well lived, worthy of honor.  While the death of a loved one is never easy, there is a certain heartbreak in learning about it after the fact, and realizing that we have blinked our eyes and missed it. What were we doing at that moment?  Why were we not there to hold his hand during his final breaths, and what dramatic experiences did he face as he crossed over, alone? The moon silently ends its post without fanfare or farewell. Does it not deserve some acknowledgement? We created this piece in honor of thfose who have departed by moonset…as our grandfather did. — Erica D. Chien and Kendra M. D'Ercole


Bio


Kendra D'Ercole (b. 1971) holds degrees from ASU, Northwestern, the University of CA at Irvine, and Rancho Santiago College, and her works have been premiered throughout the US and Europe. D'Ercole has taught music theory and ear training extensively for over two decades and is currently a professor at Phoenix College.

As a composer, D'Ercole's creative interests center on vocal music, drawing inspiration from the emotional capacity of text. Embracing a deep appreciation for playful humor as well as dark expressive drama, her pieces tend to reside wholly on either end of this spectrum--one side presenting comical song cycles like The Recycled Cycle (2004) and the whimsical award-winning orchestral work, Mobile Fantastique (2003), and the other featuring the poignant chamber opera Scattering (1998) and Wie die Blätter des Herbstes herabfallen (2016), a complete setting of Beethoven's "Heiligenstadt Testament" for solo baritone, piano, chorus and orchestra. This work was recently premiered by The Chattanooga Symphony and Opera, featuring baritone Robert Barefield. Mr. Barefield has also commissioned D'Ercole to write Laughs and Sighs: Four Songs on English Poems (2017) for his latest CD, "Light Enough", which was released by Albany Records in July

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