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Work (2019)

for SATB choir | 00:03:45

by Melissa Dunphy | text by Kahlil Gibran

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Commissioned by the Donald Sinclair Sutherland Endowment for the Bradley Hills Presbyterian Chancel Choir, Matthew Robertson, conductor.

This work is published by Galaxy Music (EC Schirmer). The text is adapted from a chapter of the 1923 prose poetry book The Prophet by Lebanese-American author Kahlil Gibran, who was influenced by Christianity, Islam, and Sufism, and addresses a path out of despair and meaninglessness through working with love; a message that has as much relevance to today's world as that of a century ago.

"The text is by Kahlil Gibran, adapted from The Prophet, offering a path from despair to love: "work is love made visible." Dunphy has composed a straightforward setting, lovely to sing and hear, that choirs will find very appealing. Not difficult." [Philip Brunelle, The American Organist]

Adapted from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

You have been told... that life is darkness,
and in your weariness
you echo what was said by the weary.
And I say that life is indeed darkness
save when there is urge,
And all urge is blind
save when there is knowledge.
And all knowledge is vain
save when there is work,
And all work is empty
save when there is love;
And when you work with love
you bind yourself to yourself,
and to one another,
and to God.
[...] Work is love made visible.


  • 15 Oct, 2023: Harvard University Choir at Memorial Church, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
  • 14 May, 2023: Overbook Presbyterian Choir at Overbook Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, PA
  • 15 Apr, 2023: Luther College Cathedral Choir at The Basilica of Saint Mary, Minneapolis, MN
  • 21 Nov, 2021: Penn Chorale at St. Mary's Church, Philadelphia, PA
  • 24 Oct, 2021: Plymouth Congregational Church Adult Choir at Plymouth Congregational Church, Minneapolis, MN
  • 31 Dec, 2019: Harmonium Choral Society at St. Peter's Church, Morristown, NJ
  • 07 Dec, 2019 - 08 Dec, 2019: Harmonium Choral Society at Morristown United Methodist Church, NJ
  • 24 Mar, 2019: Bradley Hills Presbyterian Chancel Choir at Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church, Bethesda, MD