Temple University Concert Choir. Alan Harler.
Sara Teasdale’s poem eloquently depicts humankind’s bloated sense of self-importance, our skewed idea that all of nature revolves around us. In reality, the non-human inhabitants of the earth simply do not care about our disputes, our wars, or us. The birds and frogs will continue to sing long after we have managed to destroy the entire human race. Even the Earth itself will continue will continue to spin and revolve around the sun without us, just as it had before we existed.
It is this aspect of the poetry that I tried to convey musically. The harp and vibraphone each play three cyclic gestures. Like a South-East Asian calendar with its concurrent cycles of varying lengths, these six melodic fragments cycle at six different speeds, overlapping and interacting differently with each restatement. Their starting points only align once in the piece – immediately following the final stanza of the poem. While the instruments represent evolving cycles of nature, the choir acts as detached observer: in harmony with its surroundings, but having no effect on this eternal process.