for a cappella SATB choir(2019)
|Text information||Texts by Robert Frost, Sappho, Walt Whitman, and William Cullen Bryant|
I. Desert Places (excerpt from "Desert Places" by Robert Frost)
|Commission||Commissioned by the Houston Chamber Choir, Robert Simpson, Founder and Artistic Director|
|Premiere||November 16, 2019; South Main Baptist Church, Houston, Texas · Houston Chamber Choir · Choir director: Robert Simpson|
This cycle of five contrasting songs takes its title from the poem of Robert Frost. The various texts in the piece reference both inner space and outer space, both within oneself and in interstellar space. The first song speaks of places of emptiness and fear, but also of home. The second song, with a text by Sappho, references the lovely moon and stars. The third song, with a text by Whitman taken from “On the Beach at Night Alone”, uses the repeated word “all” to present a sense of the infinite. The fourth song, with a text by William Cullen Bryant, is a fast thrill ride beginning with the words, “Away, away!”. The cycle ends with a meditation on the words “Lux Aeterna”.
– Pierre Jalbert