Thanks to Kurt Knecht for his Feb 17, 2017 review- an excerpt is below; the full review is available at http://bit.ly/2mqWQJx
I was delighted to discover Deanna Witkowski’s award winning composition “Where Shadow Chases Light.” It’s a setting of a lovely Rabindranath Tagore text for SSAA chorus and piano.
In the beginning, Deanna repeats the opening text, “This is my delight.” It’s almost tentative. It’s not the repetition of emphasis. It’s the sort of repetition where you are trying to convince yourself of something. At measure 6, there is a surprising cadence. This sort of make-shift deceptive cadence that raises us to a new key center is a steady feature of the piece. This musical world is full of shifting and variegated surprises, and the succession of the cadences ensures that we feel like we are on a rising journey. The piano writing is wonderful and idiomatic throughout and serves as an excellent foil to the chorus.
My favorite bit of compositional craft happens beginning in m. 42. As the choir ascends to a climax, it is offset by a chromatic descending bass line that begins on A flat and works it’s way down to an E flat. As we rush into the climax in the vocal parts, the chromatic line gives way to a whole step from E flat to D flat and then lands on a C with the voices soaring overhead.
Finally, we get “This is my delight” again, but it’s different now. We’ve gone through a journey. It is confident now, and there is no need to cajole ourselves into believing it. We really do like these extended tertian harmonies and surprising cadences.