Philip Silvey - composer
In Light of Time - SATB - Philip Silvey

In light of time,
the swift succession of days,
what profit mine
to see the world in new ways,
Ever recurring,
ever returning.
In view of this
and with the lessons of years,
what teacher time,
I hear with different ears,
Each season cycling past
through vision heightened,
enlightened eyes.
This being so,
not always as we would choose
yet on we go
without a moment to lose
Hold still,
time will not hold still.
Thus all is cast
in light of time.

– Philip Silvey

Two parallel events, separated by a quarter-century, set the stage for the creation of this work. In March 2008, I was invited to serve as guest conductor for the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association Region III Chorus. This honor carried particular significance since I sang baritone in the same chorus 25 years earlier as a high school senior. As guest conductor, I chose to program two pieces that had also been on the program in 1983. It was fascinating to revisit these compositions, to see and hear them from the conductor’s vantage point, and to share them with a new generation of students. As it so happened, a 30-year veteran choral teacher retiring from a school in that region also commissioned me to compose a piece for the chorus to premiere. I wanted the piece to reflect the sense of the occasion as a touch point in my life and in hers. As is often the case, the poetry and music, both written with the long view of time in mind, came together at the eleventh hour. The totality of the experience was a powerful reminder of the timelessness and longevity of the choral art, something I hope this work honors.


Copyright © 2018 Philip E. Silvey