Donald Sanborn III
    (Composer, Lyricist, Librettist)


Instrumentation: Soprano, Bass, standard SATB chorus (the conductor has the option of letting one singer cover each part, or using a larger ensemble), B-flat Clarinet, Trombone, Piano, and the following Percussion instruments: Snare Drum and Cymbals. The piece also is being scored so that the instrumental parts can be covered by Organ. The soprano's aria (Defendant's Prayer) needs only the piano, and can be performed separately.

I classify Witchtrial as a mini-oratorio (secular), or an opera in one act. I thought that it would be interesting to portray the Salem Witch Trials through a dramtic musical form. After a brief overture, a mob is shouting for the execution of a young woman (soprano) accused of witchcraft. Not needing much persuasion, the Judge (bass) sentences the Defendant to death. The night before her execution, she begs God to forgive her sins and save her. A brief instrumental postlude underscores the execution. The unresolved diminshed seventh chords at the end reflect the fact that, metaphorically, the witch trials never ended. They continue to haunt us in one form or another.


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