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Music for Holy Week – 2

"The sun rose on the gold walls of the city of peace. The air bore the cool freshness of spring."

“The sun rose on the gold walls of the city of peace. The air bore the cool freshness of spring.”

The Sun Rose, by Caroline Hinshaw

Music by Caroline Hinshaw, Text from the Gospel accounts of the events of Holy Week

Regulars in our BCG audience have heard the chorus perform works written by local composers, including Sanford Dole, our Artistic Director, as well as pieces written by members of the BCG chorus. In this concert, we are very pleased to be singing The Sun Rose, composed by Caroline Hinshaw, one of our sopranos. This relatively short, highly dramatic piece captures the essence of the experience and emotion of the period between the Last Supper and Easter. Caroline wrote the following description of the inspiration and development of the work.

The Sun Rose is the outcome of my search to experience the events of the period that the Christian Church observes as the “Triduum”, the time from Maundy Thursday (the Last Supper) to Easter. In Lent in about 2000, having been a church musician for decades, I found myself feeling strangely disconnected and wanted, even viscerally, to participate in the events of the end of Holy Week.

I started by laying the Gospel accounts side by side and extracted the various chronological events from the different Gospels. I then set about writing them as text and music together, section by section. The text is intentionally written in the first person. The music sprang up from within me. The dissonant, gutsy character of the music is very different than any I would have thought to write before this piece.

The refrain (photo caption) expresses the timeless experience of the repetitive rising of the sun and my personal observation from the Mount of Olives before dawn on several occasions. The sun rises from behind and shines to illuminate what appear to be the very gold walls of the Old City of Jerusalem; a reference to the little whiff of cool spring air that would have breezed at the Passover time of year at sunrise ends the refrain.

Having gotten that far, I reflected about “what did all this mean?” I was carried to conclude that God’s response to the violent acts of people is the generous offer and work of healing and forgiveness. Those observations are the last section of the piece.

The piece was a gift to me: I wrote down what I was given. I am grateful and pleased that BCG is presenting it.”

Caroline lives in San Francisco, sings in both BCG and the St. Gregory’s choir, practices estate planning, probate and trust law, and is an accomplished gardener.