The Thaw






Soprano, Tenor, Mixed Choir, Winds, Brass, Percussion, Harp – 3(p)2( | 2221 | timp, 4perc, hp | ST SATB (div)

premiered by

University of Oregon

commissioned by

Rodney Dorsey for the University of Oregon Wind Ensemble and University Singers

The Thaw

Text: Artis Henderson
Music: Andrea Reinkemeyer


The Thaw for Soprano, Tenor, Mixed Choir and Wind Ensemble (2016) was commissioned by Rodney Dorsey for the University of Oregon Wind Ensemble and University Singers who premiered the piece on May 28, 2016 in the Silva Concert Hall at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts (Eugene, Oregon). This work is dedicated to the memory of University of Oregon mentors Anne Dhu McLucas, Lawrence Maves, Steven Larsen, and Charles Dowd.\

I was drawn to the vivid detail and sensuality of Artis Henderson’s writing style, especially her honest portrayal of emotional pain and healing. Her poem, The Thaw, was written for this project; it draws upon imagery from Oregon’s rich, natural beauty to explore themes of love, loss and healing. The form of the musical work follows the text from a stunned and frozen stasis through the warming of spring.

I am grateful for artistic support from Rodney Dorsey, Artis Henderson, Sharon Paul, Brian and Kaisa Amer.


—Notes by Andrea Reinkemeyer
These notes may be used with proper attribution.


The Thaw

I am the bud curled tight against the cold.
I am the bulb beneath the snow.
I am the white sky, the long night, the crack and shudder of ice.

I wait beside the adder's tongue, the cobra lily, the purple hyacinth
for the soil to stir and the river to swell.
I wait through mist and hail.

I am fog and breath and cloud.
I am the cherries on the branches, too green.
I am rain.

And rain.

And rain.

And then --

 I am the windows flung open to catch the sun,
my mouth like cherries,
the heat building in me.

 I am leaf-touched, sun-tasted, petal-kissed.
I am wind and light and sky.
I am the cleft in the ridge; I am the river --
roaring, roaring,
flooded with rain. 

-- Artis Henderson

Copyright © 2014 Artis Henderson.

Used by permission of Artis Henderson.