“The snowfall is so silent,
bit by bit, with delicacy
it settles down on the earth
and covers over the fields…”
This opening line of Spanish writer Miguel de Unamuno poem captured Nancy Galbraith’s imagination, and serves as the inspiration for her new choral piece Three Poems of Miguel de Unamuno. Commissioned by the Harvard Glee Cub and Radcliffe Choral Society for their annual “Christmas in Sanders” concert, the three-movement, 12-minute work is a choral cycle for SATB, SSAA and TTBB choruses with piano which premieres on December 6 led by Andrew Clark. The choral cycle features Robert Bly’s English translations of Unamuno’s poems “By the Lake of El Crito at the Hamlet of Yeltes on a Night of Full Moon,” “The Moon and the Rose,” and “The Snowfall is So Silent,” and joins another Galbraith work — O Magnum Mysterium.
“The singers of the Harvard Glee Club and Radcliffe Choral Society are thrilled with Nancy’s Three Poems of Miguel de Unamuno,” shares Clark. “[Both choirs] annually join forces to present a holiday concert for the Harvard and Cambridge communities. In addition to presenting familiar and cherished pieces for the season, we wanted to invigorate this tradition by commissioning a new work set [to] meaningful and inclusive texts that reflect the spirit and essence of the season…” Galbraith’s Three Poems of Miguel de Unamuno follows Dan Locklair’s WINTER (from the forgottens) which Harvard and Radcliffe commissioned and premiered in 2011 for “Christmas in Sanders.”
Clark continues, “Nancy crafted a work that is both accessible to our student groups and our audience, and is simultaneously substantive, lyrical, and buoyant. Her writing for both women’s and men’s choruses works beautifully with our ensembles. She captured the spirit and traditions of our groups while exciting us with her fresh sound that I’ve come to admire for its authenticity and lack of artifice – she simply writes genuinely beautiful, engaging, and fun music and we hope other ensembles will explore these works in the future.”