The Waking mixed chorus and clarinet

"Chris Rutkowski's haunting and ultimately affirming setting of Theodore Roethke's "The Waking"...drew on images of earthly nature and human angst to create expressive and technically challenging pieces...

The Roethke texts speak of the four seasons, and yet, together they suggest to Rutkowski 'a journey or the soul from darkness to enlightenment.' To me they represent a soul's yearning for and discovery of God.

Rutkowski seemed to mold vocal lines into tone pictures suggestive of the seasons... In "The Cycle", rumbling basses appeared to depict water coursing below ground...The Waking is scored for chorus and clarinet, and that woodwind instrument does some scene setting as well, but it also seems to represent the voice of humankind. In the movement "Plaint", set in the fall, a discordant buzz of male voices gave way to the question "Where's my eternity of inward blessedness?" Just then, the clarinet fluttered up into a high, sustained trill..."

Whitney Smith, "Talented choir depicts flights of soul, seasons" The Indianapolis Star, 3/13/00