I Dream A World (2014)
For SATB A Cappella Choir
Approximate duration: 2′ 30″
MIDI Recording: This piece has yet to be performed.
Langston Hughes (1902 – 1967) was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist. He was one of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form called jazz poetry. Hughes is best known as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance.
In setting “I Dream A World”, I use quite a bit of word painting similar to the madrigals of the Renaissance era. Negativity has harsher harmonies, while positive concepts and words have a prettier harmony. Sad is minor. Happy is major. That sort of thing. The dreaming is minor because it is unfortunately, just a dream. The ideal of a perfect world where we all get along is still a state of hope and optimism, and not a reality.
In the music you will hear plenty of chord changes that use the root of one chord which becomes the 3rd of the next chord. I call these Cycle of 3rd chord progressions. The piece combines contrapuntal and homophonic choral writing as suited by the text.