James Primosch: "Two Arms of the Harbor"
Since 1994 Emmanuel Music has performed 6 of my motets, with the seventh
to be premiered today. Six of these seven were written specifically for
Emmanuel, originally at the invitation of John Harbison. The texts I have
set include poetry of Cummings, Wendell Berry, and Denise Levertov, the
last of whom was at one time an Emmanuel parishioner. Today's motet, Two
Arms of the Harbor, sets a text by American monk, writer, poet, witness
for peace, and zen master Thomas Merton, taken from one of his published
journals, a book called "Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander".
I find the text deeply consoling, and offer my setting as a memorial for
the remarkable man and musician Craig Smith, founder of Emmanuel Music,
who was kind enough to program my motets repeatedly through the years.
Through the welcoming of these motets, I feel, in a modest way, part of
the Emmanuel community, a gift for which I am profoundly grateful.