A NEW EAARTH
for Orchestra, SATB Chorus and Narrator
Instrumentation: orchestra, SATB chorus and narrator
Commissioned by the Vermont Symphony Orchestra Association in conjunction with a three-year Music Alive residency; funded by New Music USA and the League of American Orchestras.
World Premiere: Vermont Youth Orchestra and Chorus, Jeffrey Domoto, conductor, Bill McKibben, narrator, May 4 & 6, 2012.
Publisher: Bill Holab Music
Note: Choral Suite from A New Eaarth consists of the choral movements from the orchestral work, re-scored for SATB choir and piano. The choral suite may be performed as a stand-alone work.
Although I have lived in cities most of my life, I don't think of myself as a city person, and have always felt more connected to the outdoors rather than to asphalt and tall buildings. Many of my works are inspired by nature, and I am deeply concerned about environmental issues, particularly global warming.
Of the many excellent books on the environment, one of the best I have read and that moves me most is Eaarth by Bill McKibben, a well-known author, educator and environmentalist. McKibben's assertion is that we have waited too long, and that massive climate change is not only unavoidable, but already underway. He states that we may as well call this new planet Eaarth, because it is still recognizable, but fundamentally different. I feel strongly that he is correct, and wanted to express this in a musical way. A work for orchestra, chorus and narrator seemed like the ideal vehicle for reflecting on this crucial issue.
In A New Eaarth, I intersperse my own narrated text with poems and quotes from around the world, including texts by Wendell Barry, James Joyce, Percy Bysshe Shelly and William Wordsworth. The text and poems allude to the four ancient, classical elements—earth, air, fire and water—a theme that permeates many of my other works.
A New Eaarth is commissioned by the Vermont Youth Orchestra Association through a Music Alive! residency grant from New Music USA and the League of American Orchestras, and will be premiered with the Vermont Youth Orchestra and Vermont Youth Orchestra Chorus, conducted by Jeffrey Domoto, with Bill McKibben, narrating.