Text by Thomas Merton
For SATB chorus and 2 violins, optional doubling for clarinet in Bb, clarinet in A, bass clarinet and bassoon
Commissioned by Ambrosia Ensemble, directed by Ethan Gans-Morse.
Premiere: February 27th 2011, 8pm at Beall Hall, University of Oregon
Thomas Merton, also known as Father Louis, was a Trappist monk from the Abbey of Gesthemani in Kentucky in the mid-20th century, Thomas Merton was special not only for his spiritual determination that turned him from a rambunctious young man to a priest in one of the strictest order, but also for the interfaith and intercultural dialogs that he established. In a time when countries and cultures was in constant conflict, Merton reached out to other religions and sought the answer to peace. As a poet, his works show a beautiful mix of his love of nature and his understanding of culture, but always connected with a shroud of Catholic mysticism.
“Song for Nobody” perhaps best captures the interfaith nature of Thomas Merton. The beautiful imagery of a small flower germinates, Zen-like, into the universe; as we are uplifted into heaven, we are at once the smallest and the largest, nothing and everything. In my musical setting, the choir of winds and voices at times is a group of meditating individuals, and at times become one. The violins, winding playfully, become both the light that is cast on and emanates from the chorus.