Awakening is complex harmonically although basically tonal and features a tenor solo in the second movement. The focus of the first movement is the joy that comes from finding a kindred soul in a "wilderness of hostile smiles." The second movement is a rapturous memory from youth of a night spent in a glade, witness to magical elements of nature, a glowing magenta sunset, the mysteries of night, and, finally, fragrant dawn. In the third movement, the poem expresses hope and desires for a night together that may last a lifetime but which in any case concludes with the image of a restful place among the leaves and grasses.
Robin McNeil, reviewer for Opus Colorado, had this to say about a recent performance of Awakening: "...one of the high points of this concert for me at least was a composition written in 2007 by Donald Skirvin entitled Awakening...which is a startlingly beautiful piece that is incredibly complex harmonically. It is in three movements and has a tenor solo in the second movement which was sung by Maestro Banks (Ed. note: the conductor of The Esoterics) as he conducted. Again Banks many skills were displayed. He didn't just sing. He is outstanding. But I hasten to add that he was surely motivated by this beautiful piece of music written by Donald Skirvin."