The Sycamore

SATB (w/div), 6'30” (2019)

This poem by Wendell Berry describes an old sycamore tree which has survived and grown through many different natural events and physical impositions, becoming even more beautiful in the process. Particularly in its final lines, it also affirms the elements of the tree that the speaker sees in themselves, and the tree’s place in their heart and the way they see the world. Appropriately, the text took me and the music on a bit of a winding, organic journey. The intricacy of its language and its twisting and turning long sentences not only mirror the tree it is describing, but provide both musical challenges and opportunities. The music starts with a simple, folk-like setting fitting to the words, but the melody twists and morphs into new sections of the music in a number of different ways throughout the piece. The music also takes its time to reflect back on the images of the poem in stripped-down coda, just as the poem affirms the sycamore and what it represents in the final lines.

Commissioned by Lee Ryder. Exclusive through 5 June 2019, contact me to enquire further.