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Program note: Data est Lux Andrew Schultz

  • The Song Company
  • Source: The Song Company Modern Art Series 28,29 July 1998

Data est Lux (1997) premiere          Andrew Schultz (b. 1960)
for unaccompanied six part ensemble
I. Tenebrarum
III.Non silui, non quievi
IV.Non apparet

Data est Lux (Gift of Light) contains settings of passages from the Latin Vulgate
version of the Books of Job and Isaiah. The texts reflect the journey of a soul,
lost and despairing of the material world, but clinging to faith and the hope of
rebirth and light. The work was commissioned by the Song Company, Australia
and the Erik Westberg Vokalensemble, Sweden with assistance from the Music
Fund of the Australia Council and composed in July-August 1997. In four
movements, the work is about l5 minutes duration.
In the first movement, 'Tenebrarum', the traveller takes the image of light and its
absence and defiantly implores God to explain why he was dragged from the
safety of the womb ("Quare de vulva eduxisti me?). In the brief second
movement, 'stigma', the traveller invokes a catlogue of despair at the material
world - preferring destruction and pain to complacent physical comfort: "instead
of scent, a stink; instead of belt, a rope; and brand marks instead of beauty."
'Non silui, non quievi', the contrapuntal third movement, is by far the longest
and presents the traveller's plea, "My only food is sighs, and my groans pour out
like water. Whatever I fear comes true, whatever I dread befalls me. For me,
there is no calm, no peace; my torments banish rest." The image of journey
dominates the last movement, 'Non apparet', with its tally of directions." If I go
eastward, he is not there; or westward, still I cannot see him. If I seek him in the
north, he is not to be found, invisible still when I turn to the south." The final
image is one of either profound comfort or fear; "And yet he knows of every step I take!"