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Program Note

Ocean Poems contains musical settings of two poems from a set of poems of the same name by Jonathan Talberg, Director of Choral, Vocal, & Opera Studies at California State University, Long Beach (where the composer completed her graduate studies). Each poem in the set is dedicated to an important person in the poet’s life.

When We’re Gone 10,000 Years from Ocean Poems sets the beautiful poem of the same name by Jonathan Talberg. This piece uses hocket-like interplay between the vocal parts and metric displacement to create rhythmic propulsion. There is a limited set of rhythmic motifs used throughout the piece, including eighth note and quarter note groupings, triplets, and metric displacement. The technique of text painting is used for certain words to bring the text to life, such as soaring, howling, and tumbling.

I’m Still Here from Ocean Poems, sets the poignant poem of the same name by Jonathan Talberg. The poem is dedicated to Al Talberg (1928-2018), Talberg’s father. The piece opens with an insistent rhythmic motor, which is passed among the parts throughout the piece. The constant motion of the repeated text symbolizes the continuing presence of our loved ones, stating “I’m here. I’m still here.” This rhythmic motif continues in various permutations until the final chord, finally resting on the words “I’m still here twixt sea and sky,” reminding us that our loved ones are always with us.

These pieces may be performed as a suite or as stand-alone pieces. This suite would be suitable for advanced high school, collegiate, and professional choirs.


When We’re Gone 10,000 Years

When we’re gone 10,000 years and waves still break
Gloriously on this radiant sand,
Gulls soaring, winds howling, mist spraying o’er the port,

Only then will we know if our lives rang true,
When you and I tumbled together amidst all of this blue.


I’m Still Here

Horizon twixt sea and sky
Prospect, vista, or realm,
Gives perspective on life even death cannot quell.

Creating and being on this hallowed sphere
and silently chanting:
“I’m here. I’m still here.”


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