Choral Suite from A NEW EAARTH
for SATB Chorus and Piano
Instrumentation: SATB chorus and piano
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
Also Available: A New Eaarth for orchestra, chorus and narrator
Although I have lived in cities most of my life, I do not 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 climate change.
Of the many excellent books on the environment, one of the best and the one that moves me most is Eaarth by Bill McKibben, a famed 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 critical issue.
Choral Suite from A New Eaarth consists of the four choral movements from A New Eaarth for orchestra, but with piano rather than orchestra. I designed these movements so they could be performed as a stand-alone suite, and in fact, for the purpose of rehearsals, I composed the choir and piano versions first, and then orchestrated them so they could be integrated into the whole orchestral work.
The suite includes texts by Wendell Berry, James Joyce, Percy Bysshe Shelley and William Wordsworth. The poems, at least as part of the entire orchestral version, allude to the four ancient classical elements—earth, air, fire and water—a theme that permeates many of my other works.
A New Eaarth was commissioned by the Vermont Youth Orchestra Association through a Music Alive! residency grant from New Music USA and the League of American Orchestras.