In the beginning (Michael Winikoff)

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  • (Posted 2016-10-15)  CPDL #41434:     
Editor: Michael Winikoff (submitted 2016-10-15).   Score information: A4, 17 pages, 1.46 MB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes:

General Information

Title: In the beginning
Composer: Michael Winikoff

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SacredUnknown

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 2016
Description: When selecting text to set I'm always drawn to text that has vivid imagery. To me the start of Genesis is one such text: I find the image of "the spirit … hovering over the surface of the waters" quite vivid. The piece is not religious, so much as spiritual. The first movement is intended to convey mystery and awe. The second energetically depicts the emergence of the wondrous cacophony of life, in all of its forms, and the emergence of a complex ecosystem from a barren rock. The third movement is a gentle contrast, and presents humanity's "mandate" to govern the earth. Gentleness in this movement grows to swelling love and passion. This is followed by an increasingly urgent warning about neglecting our assigned stewardship of the earth. The warnings of rains not coming (droughts), the earth drying up and lying polluted are apt, given the climate change consequences that are being observed today. This piece was begun in 2010, with the first three movements taking form fairly quickly. However, an initial version of the final movement proved unsatisfying, and was thrown out, and a completely different middle section and ending were written, with the piece finally being completed (prompted by a deadline for a competition) in early 2016.

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

Let there be light.
When the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, neither wild plants nor grains were growing on the earth, for the Lord God had not yet sent rain to water the earth, and there were no people to cultivate the soil.

Let the land sprout with vegetation
every sort of seed-bearing plant, and trees that grow seed-bearing fruit
let the waters swarm with fish and other life
let the sky be filled with birds of every kind
let the earth produce every sort of animal
and God saw that it was good.

Be fruitful and multiply
fill the earth and govern it
reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals

The Lord God placed the man in the garden of Eden to tend and watch over it
but the Lord God warned him:
If you break my covenant, I will punish you.
That’s why the spring rains have failed.
The earth mourns and dries up, the crops waste away and wither.
If you follow my decrees and obey my commands,
you will eat your fill and live securely in your own land
and God saw that it was good.