Jonathan L. Billingham wrote A Promise for Double Choir & Piano in 2013 | Duration 8 mins
The musical style is dominated by richly layered vocal harmonies and the melodic interplay between the choirs and the piano. Here Billingham has fused elements from both traditional and contemporary choral genres to create a captivating work. A Promise is sometimes reminiscent of the English choral tradition but at the same time evokes a sense that it has been written for a cinematic employment of choral forces. The composer has embraced clear tonal centres and memorable, melodic motifs and where dissonance and sometimes-modal passages emerge, these are resolved beautifully. A Promise stands out as an Australian work revealing Billingham to be more in the ilk of Nigel Westlake than someone like Peter Sculthorpe.
This premiere performance was recorded live at the Sir John Clancy Auditorium during the 2013 Festival of Carols at The University of New South Wales. The performance was conducted by Sonia Maddock and featured both the Burgundian Consort and Collegium Musicum Choirs of The University of New South Wales with acclaimed pianist, Patrick Keith, all to a very warm reception.
A Promise - About the Text
The text for this powerful work of sacred music is written by the composer and is based on the interwoven themes from several biblical texts including John 1, 2 Peter 3 and 1 Corinthians 13.
Over the arc of the text the mysterious and everlasting nature of the ‘promise’ – the ‘light of the word’ - is contrasted with the supposedly constant ‘world’ – the Earth, which ‘spins round and out, and on and on, out of control’. All together, the lyrics form a thoughtful and prayerful petition for ‘light to shine in the darkness’. But could the light have already shone, ‘born as a child’? How long will it be until the light of the promise shines again?
A Promise - The Text by Jonathan L. Billingham