Copyright © 2017-19 by Jordan Kuspa

What Color Is The Dawn?

00:00 / 00:00

Composed in 2018

For unaccompanied SATB Choir

Duration: 7:00

Text: Klara Wojtkowska (used with permission)

Available for purchase through MusicSpoke

What Color Is the Dawn? is a piece I have hoped to write for many years. The inspiring experience of taking part in the inaugural PREMIERE|Project Festival, hosted by the Choral Arts Initiative of Newport Beach in June 2018, gave me the opportunity to write this first part of what I plan to turn into a four movement cantata. 


The words were written by my friend, Klara Wojtkowska, a violinist and author, who spent a year traveling the world on a Watson Fellowship. She sent out travel diaries to a list of friends, and something about her writings during her time in South Africa struck me as both innately musical, and powerfully connective. I immediately asked her permission to set her text. In particular, her recounting of an impromptu meeting of cultures, in which a jazz trio from Norway is joined onstage by an enthusiastic local member of the audience, will form the emotional centerpiece of the cantata as a whole, leading to the climactic idea: "Sometimes I am again convinced that there is nothing in the world as wonderful as music."


Klara also wrote evocatively of the natural setting of Southern Africa, and it is this excerpt that I have chosen to open the cantata:


What color is the dawn? 


Before the sky turns pink and blue,

when the first cutouts of shadows of trees emerge from the darkness,

on a background of ... What? 


This blank in-between, a clearing of color before the new ones roll in?


A rest?

A moment.


The earth and the sky separate sadly, divide into their roles, acknowledge differences, part ways.

They see each other for the first time by the light of the sun and realize – we are different.

Later to be united, melded once more by night, which erases the dividing horizon. 

Or is it a moment of indecision on the part of the sky? 


The sun not yet here, the stars gone – what next? Is it Dawn, pressing the snooze button, hoping for a few more minutes’ sleep before coming to color the sky, to paint it anew?


What color is the dawn? 



What Color Is the Dawn? was commissioned by Choral Arts Initiative; Brandon Elliott, conductor, for the PREMIERE|Project Festival 2018.

First Performance: June 15th, 2018, PREMIERE|Project Festival

St. Mark Presbyterian Church, Newport Beach, CA

Choral Arts Initiative; Brandon Elliott, conductor



Related Works:

A Dream Within A Dream

Masque of the Red Death

Songs and Dances

What Beckons