In 1991 Dunstan House began operation as the publisher of the music of Daniel E. Gawthrop with the release of a single octavo called “Sing Me to Heaven.” Twenty five years later that octavo is still in print, having sold nearly 500,000 copies during the quarter century of its existence, and has become one of the most performed and recorded choral works in modern history. Choirs of all types and sizes across the country have found that the text and the music of this piece speaks very directly to them and their audiences.
We are excited to welcome to the repertoire a new vocal solo edition of “Sing Me to Heaven,” adapted by the composer himself. In response to the question, “Why did you wait so long before making a vocal solo version available?,” Gawthrop responds: “I am, of course, intimately involved with, and familiar with, the original SATB version. I cannot tell you how many performances I have heard, how many recordings I have received, how many times I have answered questions about the piece. The sound that’s in my ear is hard to avoid and it’s therefore very difficult for me to imagine the essence of the piece altered from the rich, smooth textures of an unaccompanied choral sound to a single, skinny voice, accompanied by double-fistfuls of chords banged out on a jangling, percussive piano. How could that possibly work? It took a long time for me to open my mind’s ear to the other possibilities inherent in that “essence of the piece” that I mentioned above, but in the event I find that the new vocal solo version is quite effective and persuasively musical. It just took me a while to get there – about 25 years!”