Incantation was composed at Yaddo during the summer of 1997 for the Illinois Wesleyan Chorus under the direction and at the request of F. Scott Ferguson. Sometimes there are people who are near to our hearts; yet we cannot be near them in real life. When we think of them – whether with longing or with regret – we wish them well. Even more than well, we wish them peace, beauty, harmony, and wisdom. We wish them joy although we cannot bring it to them ourselves. With its flowing motion and its gentle passages through quiet passing dissonance to harmoniousness, Incantation is a musical ritual. It that calls on the magic of distant warmth, profound goodwill and faraway love to wish such people good things – indeed perhaps to wish them the best and most meaningful things in life. Thus Incantation is a benediction. Based on a poem by Carl Sandburg, it captures music’s magic to cast a benevolent spell, a litany of life’s deepest bounty wished for someone we can perhaps only hold in our thoughts.