This edition of “Break of Day,” originally conceived for the A Cappella Recital Choir at Louisiana State University, was prepared for the Pearland High School Chamber Choir. It is an account of two lovers faced with parting, and legato vocal lines unfold to reveal a subtle interplay among the voices interwoven with the piano and obbligato line. The yearning refrain, “Stay or else my joys will die,” gives voice to the dichotomy of joy and pain associated closeness and separation from a loved one. Originally scored for SATB choir, Piano, and English horn, the director may substitute an oboe if an English horn is not available, and SSA and TB arrangements are available. The instrumental part is included in the back of the score.

Break of Day

John Donne (1572-1631) was educated at Cambridge and Oxford, and is noted as the foremost English metaphysical poet. His use of descriptive imagery and subtle wordplay often employ metaphors from a variety of disciplines both sacred and secular. During his life he served as a private secretary to the Keeper of the Great Seal, as an Anglican Clergyman, and as dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral. This text was set and published simultaneously by three of Donne’s contemporaries: John Dowland, Orlando Gibbons and William Corkine.