for soprano, guitar, violin, saxophone, contrabassoon, and digital acoustics
Commissioned by Rob and Mindy Nathanson
Premiered March 30th, 2017 by the Pro Musica ensemble at the Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington, NC
OUT OF DARKNESS INTO LIGHT is really a mystery play interpreting, through composed and improvisational music, the beautiful prayer-like text Malgosia Sawczuk created following her remarkable restoration work in Chicago’s St. Stanislaus Kostka church. The church is located near Polonia triangle, which was the heart of the city’s vibrant Polish community when the cathedral opened in 1867, with the cornerstone of the present church building laid in 1877. Over the years, St. Stanislaus and Chicago’s Polish community have changed: the parish diminished in size, and the church and its magnificent art fell into disrepair. In 2011, St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish began a project of essential repair and restoration of the church building. Always fascinated by the church, I grew to know artist Malgosia Sawczuk – who operates the Art Objects conservation Lab with her husband – while she painstakingly restored the art of St. Stanislaus to its former glory, including the church’s extraordinary oil paintings on metal substrate which appear in the Stations of the cross, the sculpture, and the magnificent liturgical table. When asked what it’s like to be in the scaffolding so close to this great art, Sawczuk told me, “It’s like touching the silence in the perfect emptiness.” That sung to me; that’s what I do with music. Observing that restoration is an act of defiance against decay, and inspired by Sawczuk’s work, I collaborated with her to create Out of Darkness Into Light, which premiered in Chicago in April of 2015. This chamber version of the piece was directly inspired by this performance. I want to acknowledge the artistry of Tom Gullion and Josefien Stoppelenburg whose inspired solos I transcribed in my arrangement and honor the new interpreters of this music and their contribution to the spirit of renewal.