HELIOS: a multi-movement choral work


May 18, 7:30pm Church of the Nativity, St. Paul, MN
May 19, 3:00pm First Lutheran Church, Columbia Heights, MN

Helios is a musical exploration of our solar system. The libretto is inspired by the Greek and Roman gods for which the planets are named, the science of each planetary body, and the faith in unanswered questions we have as humans. The idea for this piece was born on a tour with Cantus back in 2013. I was thinking about how to combine my passions together in music, and I thought I should write a choral cycle based on the planets. Over the course of the next 6 years I researched the solar system and started to piece together the libretto movement by movement. I couldn’t find the support to fund the whole cycle in one commission, so I started to write individual movements for smaller commissions along the way. In the spring of 2018 I was talking with Matt Culloton about having it on The Singers’ 2018-2019 season, even though it wasn’t finished or funded. He told me, “if you write it, I’ll program it.” So I jumped the rest of the way in. At that point I had written 4 movements, and I would complete a fifth the next fall.

The libretto contains poetry commissioned for this piece alongside translations of ancient writing and previously published poetry. Each movement’s text is inspired by the planet for which it is named, and Helios itself has an overarching theme of control. In our lives, some things are within our control and others are not. Helios asks us to analyze these situations and be active in finding ways where we can choose. We have the choice to point our lives in a certain way, to decide who we want to be and how we want to live.

Prelude (Chaos and Order)
I. Pluto (The Border)
II. Neptune (The Storm Was Loose)
III. Uranus  (White Silences)
IV. Saturn (Longing For Infinity)
V. Jupiter (A Wife Betrayed)
VI. Comet (Transmigration)
Interlude: With My Face to the Sun
VII. Mars (Love Asleep and Waiting)
VIII.Moon (Everything is Made of Light)
IX. Earth (Only Here)
X. Venus (Everything Seems Possible)
Interlude: Opening Inward
XI. Mercury (Move Towards Freedom)
XII. Sun (Perihelion)

Timothy Takach