Nicholas Anthony Ascioti, Composer and Conductor

Music > Choral Works

Choral Works

Psalms of Peace (2013)
for Soprano Soloist, Chorus, Orchestra        ca. 20'

text by: Richard H. Hibbert

Psalms of Peace was the first text that Richard wrote for me in 2001. The piece took on many different versions over the past 12 years. It was not until 2011 that the piece began to take shape and development into its’ final version. The previous versions were never released or performed. This final version is my largest scale piece to date, it is 20 minutes in duration, has three movements, and is scored for Soprano Soloist, full Chorus and Orchestra.

I. A Cry for Peace

A darkened sky now holds us all in fear,
A grief so deep no voice can speak its name,
A trembling spirit now defines our days;
And all our longing hearts cry out, “O God,
Where is your peace?”

In hopeless, helpless state we face each day
And question everyone who comes our way
With anxious, searching eyes and needy touch;
And all our longing hearts cry out, “O God,
Where is your peace?”

Until we rest and listen for a while
To hear the gentle voice that speaks within,
And know out fretful prayers have somehow joined
To form one longing heart that cries, “O God,
Where is your peace?”

There comes a strength that is not born of might,
A confidence that grows in trusting souls
That calls us to a way that lives God’s grace
And hears the spirit say to us, “My child,
You are my peace.”

II. How Long?

Slowly, steadily, soundlessly, a breeze stirs
Around us, touching a spark of life within
And stirring it, as if to bring it to flame-
A longing, a deep desire, a prayer
Rising to the surface of our being
As the heart of heaven beats within us,
And we know the tears of God are falling
On our broken world.

How long? The silence, pleading Voice cries in us;
How long will it be, before your spirits seek
The healing gift of peace my grace alone can bring?
How deep, buried in forgotten memory,
How deep does it lie-hope’s eternal seed
That was in your soul at Creation’s birth
And waits, timelessly, for a holy Word
Breathing it to life?

III. Sign of Peace

When peace at last shall come, How will we know? What sign do we seek show That the gift has been received?

Broken spirits restored to wholeness; Broken hearts restored by love; Broken dreams restored in promise; Broken lives restored through hope.

All children held secure in trust; All people cherished as God’s own All nations seeking after justice; All Creation honored with grateful care.

As we look beyond our selves With longing for a peaceful world, We sense the divine presence Leading us in the way,

Calling us to the path, Showing us how we need to live, Encouraging us with the Spirit’s strength That fills us with the gift of peace.

Sacred Victim (2011)
SATB a cappella Choir

text by: Richard H. Hibbert

Jesus being considered a Victim became an interesting concept to me. Who made him the Victim? Was it necessary? Were we responsible? What was the result for us? Many other questions continued, and while asking these questions I was told to read the Isaiah passages. I started this discussion, in the form of a concept for a piece, with Richard. Using the Isaiah passages as a model, Richard created a text that deals with the belief of Jesus as a Sacred Victim.

I. Eternal Voice

Underneath the clamorous din
Of a heedless world,
Eternal Voice, proclaim anew
A truth unchanging and hope undimmed.
A spirit gentle, yet unbending, speaks
As every corner of Creation listens
For a promise restored and mercy revealed.
Shall we now trust this Voice Divine?

(Isaiah 42:1-4)

II. A Persistent Demand

Calling from within,
Before senses formed or awareness grew,
A persistent demand, a charge and purpose
Claiming all the strength of being
To bear witness and declare a holy will –
Not to a few, the Chosen and Separated,
But to all the multitudes now drawing breath –
That restoration of life is a gift
And renewal of Creation a demand.
No power or force can frustrate
Or overcome the fulfillment
Of this sacred vision.

(Isaiah 49:1-6)

III. A New Assurance

Strength to a weary soul
May be found in a simple word
Spoken by a faithful servant
Drawing on the well of grace.
By listening for empowering guidance
From the compassionate Divine
We learn how to serve and how to share
The source of redemptive Love.
Forged by the struggle with despair and doubt,
In the face of disgrace and deep pain,
Comes a new assurance
No threat or fear can overcome.

(Isaiah 50:4-9)

IV. Faith Forsaken Fool

Weighed down by grief
Overwhelmed by pain
Carrying the burden of the multitudes
A threat of death, a test of trust.
A world of unholy ignorance
Dwelling in a diseased darkness
Drives a pathetic holy man
To a place forlorn.
Abandoned by the light
Surrounded by a mass of emptiness
Faith-forsaken fool
Holding fast to divine delusion.
A figure fit for mocking
Or simply to ignore
Speak to us of hope
Though we may never hear.

(Isiah 52:13 – 53:9)

V. Enduring Trust

What blessing comes to the broken spirit?
What healing comes to the desperate soul
Overrun by the sickness of despair?
What song of rejoicing breathes from the lips
Of the lost and frightened children of earth?
The One who has taken upon himself
Those burdens by which we are drained of life
Becomes the blessing, the healing, the song
Of redemption, of grace, of life restored –
Our triumphant and faithful cry:
Enduring trust brings peace victorious
For which the grateful soul,
Emboldened by a healing bond,
Bursts forth in a joyous “alleluia.”

(Isiah 53:10-12)
Pater Noster (2010)
SATB a cappella Choir

for SATB a cappella Choir

Only two minutes in duration, this setting of the Pater Noster is gentle and contemplative. It is through-composed and contains complex harmonies and challenging independent lines for each voice.

Pater noster, qui es in caelis,
sanctificetur nomen tuum.
Adveniat regnum tuum.
Fiat voluntas tua,
sicut in caelo et in terra.
Panem nostrum quo ti dia num da nobis hodie,
et dimitte nobis debita nostra sicut
et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris.
Et ne nos inducas in ten ta ti o nem,
sed libera nos a malo.

Psalm 139 (1997)
soloist, chamber choir, oboe, and string quartet

for soloist, chamber choir, oboe, & string quartet
Duration ca. 7 minutes

Premiered May 1st, 1997 at the College of St. Rose by College of St. Rose Chamber Choir and members of the Albany Symphony

I See His Blood (1997)
mixed chorus a cappella

for mixed chorus a cappella
Duration ca. 7 minutes

Text by: Joseph Mary Plunkett

Psalm 13 (1997)
men's chorus, cello, and congas

for TTBB chorus, cello, & congas
Duration ca. 5 minutes

Premiered May 1st, 1997 at the College of Saint Rose by One Man Short