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All proceeds from the sale of this release will benefit the National Network to End Domestic Violence (

Live performance, October 2013, Northern Illinois University.

Beginning life as a poetry cycle, Rachel Rising was turned into a new classical song cycle, receiving its premiere performance in 2008, and excerpts and full performances have been presented in other venues since then. It is in the process of evolving into an immersive, experimental multimedia project. As that evolution is happening it is being presented in other forms, such as spoken word/performance and improvisation.

The poetry cycle came in the creative aftermath of a violent and bizarre domestic situation, but is much more than one person’s simple catharsis. It stands as allegory for anyone who has been through a “dark night of the soul”, whatever one’s faith might be — or not. It is a struggle of dark and light, of violence and peace, of restraint and freedom. In other words, the human experience.


released August 18, 2014

Rebekkah Hilgraves, soprano, poet
Rob Deemer, conductor, composer
Valerie Blair*, piano
Ann Smelser*, violin
David Lee, viola
Linc Smelser*, cello
Gregory Heintz, bass
Greg Barrett*, clarinet & bass clarinet
Kristine Mertens, oboe
Robyn Rogers, bassoon
*NIU School of Music Faculty

Recorded at Northern Illinois University, October 2013
Mastered at RadHausUS ( by Luis Flores
Rebekkah Hilgraves, Executive Producer


all rights reserved



Rebekkah Hilgraves Asheville, North Carolina

Rebekkah Hilgraves was born in Washington, D.C. and now makes her home in Los Angeles. She began training seriously for a vocal career at an early age. She also began broadcasting at WNIU in DeKalb, continuing in broadcasting, commercial and industrial voice-over work in several major markets in the years since. Currently she hosts a weekly program on called At Water’s Edge. ... more

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Track Name: Prelude and I - Ah! There is music!
Ah, there is music!

To open one’s mouth

In praise of… anything…

To utter the sounds

That describe one’s soul

When words fail.

That is God’s gift to us.

To open one’s mouth

In keening sorrow

To utter the bleak places

To sing the screaming in us

When screaming will not do

That is God’s gift.

The descent into hell began

When I forgot what music was.
Track Name: II - The devil came to me
The devil came to me one day, and said

“sing for me”

I sang because I love to sing.

The devil heard my voice, and in it the

promise that God made to me

And the devil made a promise of his own.

The same promise he has given for time

out of time.

Riches, and fame, and all those things

which strike some ill-begotten note in us.

These things which seem to call to us.

“Just this once.”

“It will do not harm.”

But what the devil was promising was

to destroy God’s promise.
Track Name: III - In the heart of darkness
In the heart of darkness

When there exists nothing

But shadow

And sorrow

When what you see

Is what you must believe

Because it is all you have

When the devil,

By whatever name,

Has finally convinced you

That God is dead, and music is meaningless

You are in Hell.
Track Name: IV - Intermezzo
Close your eyes my sparrow.
Do not cry any more
Look out over the water
And watch the waves crash to the shore
Then smile and feel the rhythm
Of the wind that blows before you,
Then turn to me for comfort
And do not cry any more.

I will sing to you,
I will sing to you,
I will sing to you,
I will open up my mouth and
Pour out the contents of my heart
I will sing to you,
I will sing to you, O.

And if you feel sorrow
And need someone to care for you
I hope you will learn from me
That I am always there for you
In your darkest hour,
Your burdens will I take for you
My lantern I shall lift
And light the path I make for you

I will sing to you,
I will open up my mouth and
Pour out the sorrow in my heart
I will sing to you
I will sing to you, O.

Now lift your eyes from darkness
And place your foot upon the road
Take my hand and walk with me
Come and let me share your load
Sing with me in joy
And feel the wind that blows before you
Turn to me for comfort
And do not cry any more.

I will sing to you,
I will open up my mouth and
pour out the joy in my heart
I will sing to you,
I will sing to you, O.
Track Name: V - But that was one voice
But that was one voice,

singing alone,

Outside of the nearer insanity of voices

Babbling, chittering,

Screaming, laughing,

There beside me in the darkness of hell.

The devil still stood beside me

And whispered lies in my ears.

The Prince of Lies.

Giving with his words

And taking with his hands

Giving with his hands

And taking with his words.

Giving once

Taking twice

Taking thrice


Track Name: VI - If I am to die today
If I am to die today,

If this is my appointed hour,

I wonder:

Will God still be watching?

Or has he truly turned his back,

Giving me up for lost

Dr. Faustus, I know your dilemma:

When the devil has been at you,

You trust no one.

Not even God.
Track Name: VII - There! A beacon of light!

A beacon of light,

A needle,

A shaft.

Do I imagine it?

Have my eyes

Succumbed to lies

As well?


There is another.

Even in the pit

The darkness is not total.

There is a single,

narrow path.

Is that it?

Or has the Prince of Lies

been up to his tricks again?

Creating hope where there

can be no hope.

Allowing belief

and then destroying it.

I will watch some more.
Track Name: VIII - Send your mother away
Send your mother away,

said he.

Do not speak to your father,

said he.

You can trust no one, he said,

but me.

I will protect you,

said he.

You are only safe in darkness,

said he.

You cannot leave now, he snarled.



Track Name: IX - The time has come to leave this place
The time has come to leave this place

Truth has defeated the dark one again

His true nature is revealed

His words become nothing

The laugh of a hyena

The mindless cackle of a toothless beggar.

But fear remains,

A subtle companion.

Bury me, Lord, as you yourself were buried.

For three days let him think me gone

Until freedom becomes a habit

And terror only a dark memory;

Then shall I stand in sunlight,

The only shadow the shade of your wings.

For he remains

Lurking, brooding.

He conspires in his darkness, his sunless cavern

Trying even now to lay a trap

Which would shutter in shadow all that is good.

Scheming, twisting;

This time he has failed.

This time
Track Name: X - But still the devil followed me
But still the devil followed me

With claws around my throat

There, in summer sun

I read the contract that he wrote

My heart was frozen hard in fear

Again he showed his skill:

“I own those things you hold most dear,

to do with as I will.”

Then opened I my mouth to sing

Alone beside the water

And still he sniggered in my soul

“But you are Satan’s daughter.”

That quiet voice, that vicious whisper

Echoed, sneaking, in my head;

Where once I sang the angels’ songs

Now croaked the voice of the dead.

“Thief,” cried I, “I want it back!”

But Thief would only mutter.

He said, “Come take it if you can!

I’ll destroy each note you utter.”

I held the contract in the sun

And prayed that God would take it,

But Satan said, “You broke God’s gift

And you cannot remake it.”

I took a breath to sing again,

To shut out Satan’s words;

And from my own mouth came a voice

Which only once I’d heard…
Track Name: XI - I will sing to you (Reprise)
… I will sing to you

I will open up my mouth

And pour out the sorrow in my heart.

I will sing to you,

I will sing to you, O.
Track Name: XII - Last night I had a dream
Last night I had a dream:

I lived in an old house

On a graceful old hill

Overlooking a graceful old city.

My friend and I raced

Through all the rooms

Opening up doors and windows

To let in as much light as we could.

At the top of this house was a door

That led to the roof

Where we could sit and drink coffee,

Where we could watch the sun set

From the graceful old hill

Overlooking the graceful old city.

Exploring further

I followed steps down to a mysterious corner

Where a mysterious door,

Dust-covered, unused,

Nearly rusted shut,

Beckoned to be opened.

“Another door!”

thought I.

“Perhaps there is more light behind it.”

I opened the mysterious door

To a great old dusty space

Which – better and better! –

Opened onto a dusty tiled terrace.

There was more light

Here in this mysterious hidden room.

And, o! when I took a broom

To sweep away the dust

From this long-forgotten room

I found

His severed head
Track Name: XIII - Now face the east
Now face the east
Stand in the light of
the rising sun
And know the peace
of morning
The coming of a new day
Joy at beginnings
Not sorrow at endings

Avalon lies west
And it is too soon to go there
That is for the ending of your days
And not before

Now is the time to
Look for new things
To inhale the scent of spring
To cast off the pall
Of darkness

Open your arms to the warmth
Of a new day.
Track Name: XIV - Finale
Ah, there is music!

I open my mouth

In praise of… everything…

I utter the sounds

That describe my soul

Where words fail.

This is my offering to God.

I open my mouth

In keening sorrow

And utter the bleak places

I sing the screaming in me

when screaming will not do

This is my offering.

The descent into hell is over

I remember what music is

And I am come home.
Track Name: XV - Coda
Why do you wear these scars?

Because the devil touched me

And I lived to tell the tale.