This piece was commissioned by the BYU Women's Chorus to commemorate 10 years under the direction of Jean Applonie. The choir will perform it at the BYU Winter Choirfest this coming Tuesday, February 4th, at 7:30 pm in the De Jong Concert Hall in the Harris Fine Arts Center on the Brigham Young University campus. Click here for information on tickets. The official Premier of the piece will be done at their concert in April. More details on that as it gets closer to the date.
What a very fun piece to write! My daughter brought me the words a few years ago and I have toyed with a some ideas on how I might set it here and there since then. But I never really liked any of the ideas and how they were coming together, so I would drop it and move on. That happened probably 2 or 3 times. When I was asked to write this piece, I submitted several sets of texts and Jean narrowed it down to two, including A Breath of Kindness. I actually started on the other text first. But again, I didn't like how it was coming together. So I put it aside and started to set A Breath of Kindness instead. Within a few minutes, I had the opening phrase and harmonies. Things began to gel very nicely and the piece was well on its way at that point. Not too long into the writing process, I thought that some nice counter melodies from a flute would work well, especially in its lower register where it is more airy. Once I started adding those countermelodies, the piece really came together quickly. What an honor to write this for Jean and the BYU Women's Chorus!
Oh, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person;
Having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words,
But to pour them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together,
Knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them,
Keep what is worth keeping, and then,
With the breath of kindness, blow the rest away.
- Dinah Maria (Mulock) Craik (1826-1887)