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Generations (2023)

for solo soprano, organ | 00:11:00

by Melissa Dunphy | text by Jacqueline Goldfinger

There is no score for this work currently available. Please contact the composer for more information.

A song cycle for soprano and organ. Commissioned by the American Guild of Organists for the 2024 National Convention. The score will be available following the premiere performance.

I. The Morning Song

On their first day of days, the newborn at mother’s breast listens close. Father whispers: “You shall love Adonai with all your heart and soul and might; in teaching and in binding, in lying down and in rising up, in Jerusalem’s perpetual light.” Wails from tender lips curl through time to worlds both vanished and to come. Today she is the summoner. Receiver of wisdom. Measure of their hearts. Tomorrow, gone, a weaver of eternities.

II. The Darkest Hour

Today is always the darkest hour. In it we behold: the fearful watchman, the crack of the whip, the covenant dusty and delayed. Yet even in bleakest night, the nightingale sings, carrying the dreams of Moses and Aaron, Huerta and King. We yearn with hands, we yearn with mouths, we yearn with marches and songs of praise. God of our Forefathers, pardon our iniquity. God of our Foremothers, marry love to strength, patience to resolve, hope to action. Let us be a light in the darkness of our day.

III. The Great Work

Hope braided in sacred hours, children dream our bygone dreams. Their shield and sword our words and deeds. The Great Work must be done. We sing a song of hope. Sing to the sky, to the union of stars. There is joy in them, even as they burn away. The Great Work must be done. My actions are my life, my love, my witness; the sentence I write of our story. L’dor v’dor, generation to generation. The Great Work will be done.

Artwork by Cate Marcelli