SATB and percussion
This piece follows the progression of the Salem Witch Trials, which took place in colonial Massachusetts in 1692. Over the course of a little more than a year, the Puritan community executed nineteen suspected witches. I aimed to capture the hysteria and religious hypocrisy responsible for driving a community to such an atrocity. With text largely based on quotes recorded during the actual witch trials, Salem, 1692 is comprised of six movements. Movements one through three document the initial Old Testament mandate, the twisted superstitions that developed from said mandate, and the panicked responses of the accused. Recreating the ominous and prolonged walk to the gallows, movement four features the Lord’s Prayer, a common test for witches at the time. The fifth movement symbolizes the execution. Traditionally used as a responsive text, the doxology provides the framework for the sixth and final movement. The distortion of the beautiful melody creates a somber response to the tragic events that transpired.
Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live
Every old woman with a wrinkled face, a furr'd brow, a hairy lip, a gobber tooth, a squint eye, a squeaking voice, or a scolding tongue ... a dog or cat by her side, is not only suspected but pronounced for a witch. – John Gaule
I am no more a witch than you are a wizard. If you take my life away, God will give you blood to drink. – Sarah Good
Our father, which art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow; praise Him all creatures here below; praise Him above ye heavenly host; praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Brittney Mitchell, Soprano I
Alexandra Martella, Soprano II
Emma Patterson, alto
Caleb Peterson, tenor
Jared Wolfe, baritone
Josiah Keith, bass
Arne Anderson, percussion
Jonathan Lyons, conductor
© 2015 Calvin Hitchcock. All Rights Reserved
Cedarville, music, composition
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Hitchcock, Calvin D., "Salem, 1692" (2015). Student Composition Recitals. 93.