...or a musician

SATB and orchestra (2200,2000,timp,hpscd,strings)

This mercurial musing on music's mysterious source draws its literary inspiration from a spirited poem by Philip Dacey, in which the sacred and secular merge into one powerful creative force. A rollicking 10-minute montage of musical styles ranging from Bach to barbershop, both lighthearted and ultimately transcendent.


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Order Sheet Music
Catalog Number: 
Commissioned By: 
Wisconsin Chamber Orchestera. Madison, WI
Premiere Conductor: 
David Lewis Crosby

American Master Chorale and Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra; David Lewis Crosby, conductor. Madison, WI


"The music illustrated both music's wonderful variety and expressiveness and the interrelation of sacred and secular. Old favorites in a new setting prompted joyful laughs from the audience.' Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, WI)

Text Author or Source: 
Philip Dacey

"The Musician"
Poem by Philip Dacey

"Bach is always making the sacred secular and the secular sacred."
- Bill McGlaughlin, Minnesota Public Radio

In the great nave of the church,
we eat noodles and throw dice,
while at lunch in the cafe
a man sinks to his knees,
muttering prayers
and touching the floor with his head.

A minister delivers a sermon
that sounds suspiciously like a recipe
for coq au vin,
while someone else has hung
beautiful laundry out to dry
on the wide-open arms of a cross.

We're confused
but happy to be so,
unclear as to whether
that was God who just walked by
or a musician
on her way to a concert,
the whole next world
squeezed into her black case.

© by Philip Dacey. Reprinted by permission of the poet.