Joelle Wallach

Where Angels May Lie Down Down Among Us

Year: 1992

Duration (in minutes): 14'39;

Difficulty: Medium (college/community)

Category: orchestra and chamber orchestra

Instruments: any string, any woodwind, bassoon, clarinet, flute, harp, horn, oboe, percussion, timpani, trumpet, viola, violin

Publisher: Joelle Wallach

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Text PDF: where-Angels-May-Placid-Complete-ScoreTitleInstrumenation-Optimized.pdf

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Description: 1-1-1-1; 2-1-1-0 harp, perc, piano strings: 1111 111, 1 perc, pn, strs A chamber symphony. Where Angels May Lie Down Among Us was composed at the Ragdale Foundation during the winter of 1992. In writing it, I was primarily interested in how certain luminous and miraculous things and people are often hidden among the things and people we think of as ordinary. So in this piece, a melody will sometimes be interrupted by a sublimely tender one, and one which at first seems rude, ugly or frightening will seem to become beautiful as it is heard again, played a little differently. This the rough sounding theme interrupting the quiet beginning becomes the surpassingly delicate one at the end – just as someone we might find abrasive or even offensive can become beautiful to us through familiarity. The word “angel” comes from a Greek translation of the Hebrew word mal’akh which meant “the shadow side of God” but later came to mean “messenger.” I wrote this piece in the winter of 1992 just at the time of my husband’s sudden death, weeks before his 48th birthday. I felt then that I was living in the dark side of God. Yet I am very grateful to have had my years with Stephen, during which he was for me both a Divine message and a messenger – and in a very real sense my muse. I wish he could have heard this, last piece I’d ever write from our time together. But I hope that for those who can hear this piece, some angels will come alive, the sublime interleaved among the ordinary, lifted by the instrumentalists from the mundane world into music’s miraculous realm of transcendence and peace.

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