Michael Horvit: The Mystic Flame

A Choral Symphony



Michael Horvit


The Mystic Flame


A Choral Symphony




Moores School Symphony Orchestra & Festival Chorus


Franz Anton Krager, conductor


Twyla Whittaker, soprano • Katherine Ciesinski, mezzo-soprano


Joseph Evans, tenor • Richard Paul Fink, bass-baritone




Commissioned by Congregation Emanu El, Houston, Texas, The Mystic Flame chronicles in words and music the Jewish experience in the 20th century. Texts are drawn from many sources: poets, novelists, historians, ministers, rabbis, major actors upon the world stage and ordinary people. This vast canvas of words and music, arranged in three large sections, mirrors the historical shape of the 20th century. Here we have the chronicle of one people, the Jewish people, in their struggle to be free from persecution, subjugation and bigotry. It is, however, symbolic of the struggle of all the diverse immigrants who came to our great nation. They came, and still come, to find freedom from oppression, be it religious, economic or political. They come “yearning to breathe free.”


PART I, The Golden Door portrays the life of the Jews in Europe during the first years of the century. There was the warm, bucolic life in the little villages of the east and the bustling communities and cultural flowering in the grand cities throughout the continent. Bigotry, pogroms, horrendous Cossack raids periodically convulsed this peaceful existence. In France there was the shameful, false accusation of Dreyfus and the heroic nobility of Emile Zola who stood up against all odds to defend him. There was the utopian dream of Theodore Herzl, a news correspondent at the trial. He foresaw a new nation of Israel, a haven from persecution, a land of spiritual strength and independence. Finally, The Golden Door describes the grand migration to America, the land of freedom, and the buoyant optimism embodied in it. Here Jews joined people from all corners of the world in contributing to and helping build this great nation.


PART II, The Tired Sunset Glow reflects the dark years of the Holocaust. The Nazi scourge spread over Europe like an evil plague, conquering nations, enslaving their peoples and scattering death camps across the land. Twelve million souls were cruelly exterminated. Political opponents, the infirm, Slavs, Gypsies, together with six million Jews were imprisoned, starved and executed. Like so many, Lutheran pastor Martin Niemoeller did not realize until it was too late that when the Gestapo carted off so many others, it would be only a matter of time before they came for him. Many like Anne Frank were able to hide and watch the horror unfold, hoping for a brighter future, only to be discovered and taken away to their doom. Nellie Sachs and others like her were able to flee to safe havens and witness and mourn the tragedy from afar. Mothers, fathers, grandparents, children, infants — all were brutally enslaved and murdered. When the Allies liberated the camps, their soldiers were stunned by the unspeakable horror and suffering they found.


PART III, The Morning Light represents the last half of the century. It embraces the establishment of Israel as a great outpost of democracy, an oasis of brotherhood and freedom and the strong bond of friendship between the democracies of the United States and Israel. Included is the great emigration from Russia and other lands of oppression. The work ends with expressions of hope and optimism in the future, with dreams of beauty, nobility and the brotherhood of all humanity.


In addition to the four vocal soloists and full SATB choir, the orchestra is quite large. The instrumentation was chosen for the great breadth of color, expressive possibilities and varied textures it made available. Woodwinds are in threes, with each pair being joined by its close relative: 2 flutes and piccolo, 2 oboes and English horn, 2 clarinets and bass clarinet, 2 bassoons and contra bassoon. The brass section consists of 3 trumpets, 4 horns, 3 trombones and tuba. In addition to the timpani (5 drums), three percussionists play a large number of instruments: snare drum, bass drum, 5 tom toms, 4 temple blocks, 2 bongos, 2 timbales, large suspended cymbal, cymbals (plates), whip, xylophone, glockenspiel, marimba and chimes (tubular bells). There are two harps and the normal string sections: first and second violins, violas, cellos, and basses.


The score takes full advantage of the wide range of capabilities this large array of forces affords. Supporting and amplifying the varied sentiments of the text as the history of the century unfolds, the musical texture ranges from intimate, chamber-like combinations to full expression by the entire ensemble.


Especially in The Golden Door there are many sudden changes in mood. The pastoral music of The Pale is burst upon by “Except for a Pogrom” and concluded by the chorale-like “And in America there was freedom.”


The violence of The Cossacks is interrupted by the ironically seductive sinuousness of the soprano solo, “beautiful Jewess" and the martial stateliness of The Dreyfus Case is shattered by the "howls of the mob.”


The lyrical tenor solo of Maxim Gorky's reflection on Zionism (“thirst for freedom”) returns at the start of The Morning Light as An Incandescent Moment, the setting of statements by Abba Eban and David Ben-Gurion upon the establishment of the State of Israel.


Following the bass solo and chorale, The Dream, and the gentle For the Sake of Others, the first section ends with a highly rhythmic setting for full chorus and orchestra of Emma Lazarus's Her Beacon Hand. The powerful “Oh deem not dead that martial fire, Say not the mystic flame is spent,” concludes with the famous lines found on the base of the Statue of Liberty, “Give me your tired, your poor…. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”


The music of The Tired Sunset Glow ranges from the somber chanting of the prayer of mourning, the Kaddish, to dramatic cries of disbelief and anguish.


In The Ancient Words the Kaddish is first heard in the orchestra as the tenor sings Martin Niemoeller's “Then they came for me.” It is then taken up by the choir, alternately coming to the fore and receding below the solo lines. It concludes the movement.


Warlike brass fanfares introduce and punctuate the distraught cries of Anne Frank, Oh, what is the use of war? The pace is agitated, unsettled as the dramatic soprano solo moves rapidly through a two octave range.


The Road to Destruction is set over a slow, somber march. The men of the choir intone “The tired sunset glow… My brother, do not follow me,” and the women vocalize a melancholy sighing gesture. The solo cello and solo violin pervade the movement with wide-


ranging cantorial incantations.


To Die Young is framed by a freely expressive viola solo. The movement begins enveloped in sadness, moves toward hope, falling back to despair, “I did not want the dark of war, the night.”


O the Night of Weeping Children is a dark, somber chorale that begins quietly and rises to a climax of despair, “panic suckles the little ones.” The Kaddish, heard earlier in The Ancient Words, returns to close Part II. At first it is only in the orchestra as the bass solo sings over it, “I do not know how many Einsteins, how many Freuds, have been destroyed in the furnaces of Auschwitz and Maidaneck.” The choir takes up the prayer, completing its concluding lines and ending the section.


The Morning Light opens with An Incandescent Moment. As indicated above, this is set to a varied return of the music for Utopia. Not only are the sentiments parallel, but this also acts as a unifying element in the overall architecture of the work.


Violent, rapid-fire rhythms and accents in Mother Russia punctuate the angular, bittersweet mezzo soprano line, “I leave you now, I wrench my heart away, And wish you: Let all be well with you!”


Stirring, antiphonal brass fanfares return to herald Outpost of Democracy. Following the dramatic bass solo, “Peace for Israel,” the soprano soon joined by the bass sings a heartfelt “…how a desert can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy.” Following a return of the fanfares, the choir brings the movement to its climax, “A flaming fire burns over the graves of our martyrs…”


Driving ostinato rhythms fortified by insistent percussion underpin vivid orchestration and choral singing in The Night Shineth as the Day. “I am no child, afraid of darkness,” drives to the climax, “Crematorium, Pharoah, Haman, Nero, Hitler…” This is followed by the yearning hope, “And in the morning light we shall behold Thy face, O Lord.”


The Oxygen of Love is the most intimate moment of the symphony. The orchestration is very delicate: solo flute, solo clarinet, two harps and strings. There are two lyrical solos by the soprano accompanied by the strings and clarinet. These are each preceded and followed by the harps supporting the flute as it unfolds a sensuous, undulating melody.


The final movement is a majestic hymn of praise of America. In contrast to the preceding movement, it is scored for the full forces of the orchestra. It opens with a stately fanfare presented this time by brass, winds and strings in antiphonal entries. Accompanied by winds, strings, harps and percussion, the four soloists sing the full text, “God built Him a continent of glory and filled it with treasures untold.” The fanfares return, heralding the entry of the full choir as the entire ensemble repeats the concluding lines: “God fashioned a nation in love, blessed it with a purpose sublime — And called it America!” The musical material is an expansion of the closing of Her Beacon Hand, lending further symmetry to the design of the symphony.


Notes © 2002 by Michael Horvit










The Mystic Flame


Part I


The Golden Door


1. The Pale


(Michael Horvit)


At the foot of high mountains, at the edge of great forests and swamps, rivers and streams lay the little villages — the shtetls. Their tiny huts were of wood or mud covered with thatched roofs and surrounded by small farms. The people were poor farmers, artisans and traders.


This was the Pale. By decree of the Czars these were the ghettos where the Jews of Eastern Europe lived out their lives. It was a world not often disturbed by the outside except by a pogrom or other suchcataclysm.


The Jews of the Pale were rooted in the soil. Here they had lived for generations, parents bringing up children, marrying them off, helping them settle, children doing the same for children in the same unending cycle. Village life centered in the synagogue. Here the children were taught; here prayers were changed on the numerous Holy Days throughout the year; here the joys of life were celebrated; here the sorrows of life were lamented.


In the cities of Europe they took part in a vibrant cultural life, with fewer restrictions as one moved to the west. And in America there was freedom. They were artists, musicians, scholars, scientists, and doctors — there were many Nobel Laureates among them.


2. The Cossacks


(Michael Horvit, Jean-Paul Sartre)


In eastern Europe, in the cities and in the villages, pogroms took place with horrendous frequency. The Cossacks roamed the land with their bloody swords, flashing guns, and flaming torches. Murder, rape, pillage, fire, destruction — these were the grim reality.


There is in the words “beautiful Jewess” a special significance, one quite different from that contained in the words “beautiful Roumanian” or “beautiful Greek.” The “beautiful Jewess” is she whom the Cossacks under the Czars dragged by her hair through her burning village.


3. The Dreyfus Case


(Theodor Herzl, Emile Zola)


What made me into a Zionist was the Dreyfus case. I can still see the defendant coming into the hall with his dark uniform trimmed with braid. I still hear him give his credentials: “Alfred Dreyfus, Captain of Artillery.” Also the howls of the mob in the street in front of the Ecole Militaire still ring unforgettably in my ears: “Death! Death to the Jews!”


May all my words perish if Dreyfus is not innocent. I did not want my country to remain in lies and injustice. One day, France will thank me for having helped save its honor.


Truth is on the march and nothing can stop it.


4. Utopia


(Maxim Gorky)


I am told Zionism is a Utopia. I do not know; perhaps. But inasmuch as I see in this Utopia an unconquerable thirst for freedom, one for which people will suffer, for me it is a reality. With all my heart I pray that the Jewish people, like the rest of humanity, may be given the spiritual strength to labor for its dream and establish it in flesh and blood.


5. The Dream


(Hillel, Theodor Herzl)


If I am not for myself,


Who will be for me?


But if I am only for myself, what am I?


If you will it, it is no dream.


6. For the Sake of Others


(Louis Brandeis, Albert Einstein)


The new nationalism adopted by America proclaims that each race or people, like each individual, has the right to develop, and that only through such development will high civilization be attained.


Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that we are here for the sake of others. Above all for those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends, and also for the sake of countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to


give in return as much as I have received and am still receiving.


7. Her Beacon Hand


(Emma Lazarus)


Oh deem not dead that martial fire,


Say not the mystic flame is spent!


With Moses' law and David's lyre,


Your ancient strength remains unbent.


In two divided streams the exiles part,


One rolling homeward to its ancient source,


One rushing sunward with fresh will,


new heart.


By each the truth is spread,


the law unfurled.


Each separate soul contains


the nation's force,


And both embrace the world.


Here at our sea-washed,


sunset gates shall stand


A mighty woman with a torch whose flame


Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name:


Mother of Exiles. From her beacon hand


Glows world-wide welcome.


Give me your tired, your poor,


Your huddled masses


yearning to breathe free,


The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,


Send these, the homeless,


tempest-tost to me,


I lift my lamp beside the golden door.


Part II


The Tired Sunset Glow


8. The Ancient Words


(Martin Niemoeller, Michael Horvit, Howard Samuels)


In Germany, the Nazis first came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Trade Unionist. Then they came for me…by that time there was no one to speak up for anyone.


We were all overwhelmed with sadness. Near me I heard the chant of the Kaddish. About me everyone was praying the ancient words in the midst of the camp.


Buchenwald was captured from the Germans. I was there. I had seen death in battle. I had seen suffering. But I was unprepared for Buchenwald.


I had read about the Holocaust. But, for a 24-year-old G.I. reading that a million children were gassed, six million people were exterminated simply because they were of a different religion, was unreal and totally unbelievable.


I was so stunned by what I saw that my mind locked it in. I could never speak about it. It took the sight of the swastikas in an American Nazi Party demonstration to loosen my tongue as those memories came flooding back.


9. Oh, What Is the Use of War?


(Anne Frank)


What, oh, what is the use of war? Why can't people live peacefully together. Why all this destruction?


I don't believe the big men, the politicians and the capitalists, alone are guilty of the war. Oh no, the little man is just as guilty, otherwise the peoples of the earth would have risen in revolt long ago! There's in people simply an urge to destroy, an urge to kill, to murder and rage, and until all mankind, without exception, undergoes a great change, wars will be waged, everything that has been built up, cultivated and grown will be destroyed and disfigured, after which mankind will have to begin all over again.


10. The Road to Destruction


(Itzik Manger)


I am the road to destruction,


The blonde death in the sun,


The brown strain of the shepherd's pipe,


The tired sunset glow.


My brother, do not follow me,


To pass down my road is to pass away.


11. To Die Young


(Hannah Szenes)


To die, to die in youth,


No, no, I did not want it;


I loved the warmth of the sun,


the lovely light.


I loved song, shining eyes


and not destruction.


I did not want the dark of war, the night.


No, no, I did not want it.


12. O the Night of the Weeping Children


(Nellie Sachs, trans. Michael Hamburger from O the Chimneys. Trans. ©1967, renewed 1995 by Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, Inc. Used by arrangement with Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.)




O the night of the weeping children!


O the night of the children


branded for death!


Sleep may not enter here.


Terrible nursemaids


Have usurped the place of mothers,


Have taunted their tendons


with the false death,


Sow it onto the walls and into the beams—


Everywhere it is hatched


in the nests of horror.


Instead of mother's milk,


panic suckles the little ones.


Yesterday Mother still drew


Sleep toward them like a white moon,


There was a doll with cheeks


derouged by kisses


In one arm,


The stuffed pet, already


Brought to life by love,


And in the other —


Now blows the wind of dying,


Blows the shifts over the hair


That no one will ever comb again.


13. Kaddish


(Chaim Weizmann, Allen Ginsberg)


I do not know how many Einsteins, how many Freuds, have been destroyed in the furnaces of Auschwitz and Maidenek. But there is one thing I know: if we can prevent it, it will never happen again.


This is the end, the redemption from the wilderness, way for the Wanderer, house sought for All, black handkerchief washed clean by weeping.




Part III


The Morning Light


14. An Incandescent Moment


(Abba Eban, David Ben-Gurion)




The history of every people fixes its eye


upon a particular moment


in which its qualities and attributes shine


forth with special radiance.


No one can doubt that it was just such an


incandescent moment


that has been kindled in the life of the


Jewish people.


We have gathered up human particles…


and combined them into the nucleus


of a nation revived…;


in the desolate spaces of an


abandoned Homeland, we have…built


villages and towns,


planted gardens and


established factories;…


we have breathed new life


into our muted and


abandoned ancient language…


Such a marvel is unique


in the history of human culture.






15. Mother Russia


(Peter Gay, Joseph Kerler)


When refugees meet and exchange stories about their escape from Hitler and their lives abroad, each has a story to tell, yet each story is like all the others, a life bravely lived but also a dream lost forever.




Dear Mother Russia where I was cradled,




I leave you now,


Not like a beaten dog


Who, at a whistle and a pat,


Is pathetically ready to bounce back


And wag his tail…


I go with heavy heart,


With leaden steps,


With each step


I tear away


Pieces of earth


Soaked with my blood.


I wrench my eye away


I wrench my heart away


And wish you:


Let all be well with you!


16. Outpost of Democracy


(Martin Luther King, Jr., King Hussein, Abraham A. Neuman)


Peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all our might to protect its right to exist. Israel is one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done, how a desert can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy. [N.B. The quote by Dr. King was given in the context of peace and security for Israel together with peace and economic security for her Arab neighbors.]


We will always cherish the memory and honor of all those who have fallen over the years from amongst all our peoples. I believe they are with us on this occasion as we come together to insure — God willing — that there will be no more death, no more misery, no more suspicion, no more fear, no more uncertainty of what each day might bring.


This is peace with dignity. This is peace with commitment. This is our gift to our peoples and the generations to come.


A flaming fire burns over the graves of our martyrs. Their souls will find no peace until their spirits find new life in the hearts of their living brethren. Even now one can hear these invisible spirits move in two columns. One is being wafted over the hills of Israel. Another is advancing upon us in America.




17. The Night Shineth as the Day


(Albert S. Goldstein)




I am no child, afraid of darkness.


God has led me through so many


nights with a light of fire,


Surely no darkness is too dark —


with Him.


When I walk with Him, even the


night shineth as the day,


The darkness is as the light…


Egypt, Babylon, Greece, Rome…


Crusade, Black-Death, Crematorium,


Pharoah, Haman, Nero, Hitler…


I have lived too long,


experienced too much,


Known too many nights, not to see


that they are, like the day,


Only an aspect of eternity.


This night too shall pass,


And in the morning light


we shall behold Thy Face, O Lord.


18. The Oxygen of Love


(Joshua Loth Liebman)


While we live, we should try to make each day a year as far as beauty, nobility, and a warm sense of brotherhood are concerned. In a time when there is so much cruelty abroad, we must generate the oxygen of love to keep the souls of the world still breathing.


19. America


(Abba Hillel Silver)


God built Him a continent of glory


and filled it with treasures untold;


He carpeted it with soft-rolling


prairies and columned it with


thundering mountains;


Then he called unto a thousand


peoples and summoned the


bravest among them.


They came from the ends of the


earth, each bearing a gift and a hope.


The glow of adventure was in their


eyes, and in their hearts the


glory of hope.


And out of the bounty of earth


and the labor of all,


Out of the longing of hearts and the


prayer of souls,


Out of the memory of ages and the


hopes of the world,


God fashioned a nation in love,


blessed it with a purpose sublime —


And called it America!










Michael Horvit


Michael Horvit (b. 22 June 1932) is Professor of Composition and Theory at the University of Houston Moores School of Music. For 25 years, he served as music director at Congregation Emanu El. During his studies at Yale University, Tanglewood, Harvard University and Boston University, where he received his DMA degree, Dr. Horvit's composition teachers were Aaron Copland, Lukas Foss, Walter Piston, Quincy Porter and Gardner Read. In turn, Horvit has taught two generations of music students at the University of Houston.


Widely performed in the U.S., Europe, Japan and Israel, Horvit's works, available from several publishers, range from solo instrumental and vocal pieces to large symphonic compositions and operas. Recently, he has been the featured composer and lecturer at the New Music Festival at South Dakota State University, the LaSalle College of the Arts in Singapore, the Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra, and the Norrbotten Chamber Orchestra, Lulea, Sweden.


CDs of Horvit's works are available on Albany Records (TROY134, Music of Michael Horvit, and TROY265, Daughters of Jerusalem). Two new CD's are in preparation for Albany: solo works for organ and chamber music for strings. Even When God Is Silent and A Child's Journey were recently released on a CD by the Master Chorale of Washington, (Albany Records TROY352).


During the 1996-7 seasons, Maestro Leon Spierer performed Horvit's Invocation and Exultation for String Orchestra with several orchestras throughout Europe and Japan. A Child's Journey was performed in April 1998 by the Polish Yough Choir at an international commemorative ceremony at Auschwitz, and in March, 1999 in Warsaw. His cantata, Land of Dreams, received multiple premiere performances in several cities throughout the U.S. in 1998-99 and was performed in the University of Houston's Moores Opera House in April 2000. His most recent work, prior to The Mystic Flame, Three Portraits for Piano, was commissioned by KUHF-FM, and was performed by Timothy Hester for the opening of its new Center for Public Broadcasting in November 2000. Horvit is co-author of four widely used theory texts published by Wadsworth Publishing Co. and Oxford University Press.


Numerous ensembles and organizations have commissioned his works, including the Houston Ballet, the Houston Symphony, the National Symphony of Mexico, the American Wind Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Chamber Brass, the Esterhazy String Quartet, the Arkansas Symphony String Quartet, Congregation Emanu El and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. He is the recipient of awards from organizations that include B.M.I., ASCAP, the Martha Baird Rockefeller Foundation, Meet the Composer, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fridge Trust, and the University of Houston.






Franz Anton Krager


Since making his prize winning European conducting debut in Copenhagen's Tivoli Koncertsalen, Franz Anton Krager has conducted orchestras in the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Manchester England's Bridgewater Hall, Sydney Opera House, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Kazan's State Philharmonic Hall in Russia, Guadalajara's Degollado Theater, and Sarasota's Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Krager's affiliations with leading music festivals include the Lichfield and Aberystwyth International Arts Festivals in the U.K., and the Texas Music Festival and Interlochen National Music Camp in the U.S.


Krager is Associate Professor of Conducting and Director of Orchestras at the University of Houston Moores School of Music. The Moores School Orchestra is heard frequently on national Public Radio, and has commercially recorded the music of Michael Horvit, Robert Nelson, and Stephen Shewan for Albany Records. Krager is also Artistic Director for the Virtuosi of Houston, Director of Orchestral Studies and Resident Conductor for the Texas Music Festival, and has been a summer lecturer-in-residence at the Italart Santa Chiara Study Center, near Florence, Italy, since 1987.








Twyla Whittaker, Soprano


Twyla Whittaker is an active oratorio soloist with a repertoire that ranges from Bach to Verdi. She regularly performs with groups such as Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, American Bach soloists, and the Carmel Bach Festival, among others. She has been a national winner of both the NATS Artist Awards Competition and the Washington International Competition at the Kennedy Center. Whittaker has been a frequent soloist with the San Francisco Symphony and was the featured recitalist at the national NATS workshop in 1996.


Katherine Ciesinski, Mezzo-Soprano


Hailed by the New York Times as “a singer of rare communicative presence, and a musician of discrimination and intelligence,” Katherine Ciesinski pursues a fuly integrated career that explores the world of today's composers as well as the established classics of the lyric stage.


She has performed in major opera houses of the world including the Metropolitan Opera and the opera companies of Covent Garden, Scottish Opera, San Francisco, San Diego, Dallas, Santa Fe, Paris, Geneva, Brussels, Stuttgart, Toronto, Frankfurt and Madrid. Her recordings can be found on the Erato, London/Decca, Radio France, BMG, Music Masters, Bridge, CRI, Columbia and Leonarda labels.


Joseph Evans, Tenor


Joseph Evans has appeared at La Scala, Ireland's Wexford Festival, the english National Opera, and the Welsh National Opera, in addition to his performances in France at the Opera de Nantes, Orleans, Toulouse, and Nancy, at La Fenice in Venice, and the Grand Theatre de Genève in Switzerland. He has sung leading roles with the New York City Opera, as well as guest appearances with the Houston Grand Opera, San Diego, Seattle, Pittsburgh, Palm Beach, Boston and Cleveland Opera companies. Mr. Evans is Associate Professor of Music at the University of Houston Moores School of Music.


Richard Paul Fink, Bass-Baritone


An alumnus of the Houston Opera Studio and the University of Houston, Richard Paul Fink has come to international attention as an important dramatic bass-baritone in appearances with theaters that have included the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Washington Opera, San Diego Opera, Hamburg State Opera, Welsh National Opera, Scottish Opera, Theatre du Capitole, Toulouse, Sydney Opera as well as the Bregenz and Ravinia Festivals. Fink began his professional career with the Houston Grand Opera, where he has participated in twelve productions.






Program Notes: Michael Horvit


Cover Art: Starfall Graphics, Houston


Recorded 3-5 March 2001 in the Moores Opera House, University of Houston


Recording Engineer:Brad W. Sayles


Digital Editing & CDMastering:


John Proffitt


Produced by Michael Horvit


Executive Producer:John Gladney Proffitt


A co-production of the


Moores School of Music,


University of Houston and


Radio Station KUHF-FM, Houston


Publisher: Transcontinental Music




CD production made possible in part by a grant from The University of Houston


Michael Horvit






The Mystic Flame — a choral symphony


Part I


The Golden Door


The Pale [4:41]


The Cossacks [2:59]


The Dreyfus Case [2:57]


Utopia [2:30]


The Dream [3:02]


For the Sake of Others [5:24]


Her Beacon Hand [3:29]


Part II


The Tired Sunset Glow


The Ancient Words [4:52]


Oh, What Is the Use


of War? [2:30]


The Road to Destruction [3:56]


To Die Young [2:45]


O the Night of the


Weeping Children [3:12]


Kaddish [3:25]


Part III


The Morning Light


An Incandescent Moment [2:35]


Mother Russia [2:04]


Outpost of Democracy [6:13]


The Night Shineth


as the Day [1:36]


The Oxygen of Love [4:30]


America [4:57]




Total Time = 67:44




Twyla Whittaker, soprano • Katherine Ciesinski, mezzo-soprano


Joseph Evans, tenor • Richard Paul Fink, bass-baritone


Moores School Symphony Orchestra & Festival Chorus


Chorus Preparation: Charles Hausmann, Betsy Cook Weber & Eduardo García-Novelli


Franz Anton Krager, conductor