I recently found myself rereading Mary Oliver’s Of Power and Time. In this thoughtful essay, Oliver speaks about the creative process needing solitude and uninterrupted time, free of distraction. She also discusses herself consisting of three separate selves. The first is the child of the past. While not always at the forefront, this playful and optimistic self is still present in every decision. And then there is the ordinary, attentive self. This self is concerned with the structure and tasks of the day. If not careful, it is this self that most often takes the lead. Lastly, there is the creative self. This self is not concerned with the mundane tasks of the day, and it is certainly not constrained by the clock nor calendar.
It is the creative self, Oliver argues, that guides an artist. Artists, she explains, “are not trying to help the world go around, but forward.” Oliver also equates art to eternity multiple times throughout the essay. She argues that the artist “who does not crave that roofless place eternity should stay at home.” Near the essay’s conclusion, she states what is perhaps my favorite line: “I have wrestled with the angel and I am stained with light and I have no shame.” No shame in ignoring the ordinary and instead focusing on the actual work of moving the world ahead with art. Stained With Light pays tribute to the power, beauty, and elusiveness of the creative process.
Chandelier Chimes are homemade and consist of chandelier crystals and chains. While this timbre is obviously preferred, substitutions may be used as needed. The celeste part may be performed on the piano if no celeste is available.
February 20, 2020, at the Southwestern CBDNA Conference by the University of Missouri Wind Ensemble; Brian Silvey, conductor
Commissioned by the University of Missouri Wind Ensemble; Brian Silvey, conductor