The music and lyrics of We Have a Choice were composed as a reaction to the COVID-19 crisis. The piece explore aleatoric and performer-based textures that can be sung remotely through video conferencing platforms, such as Zoom. The text explores our ability to choose our own paths and reactions in every situation, hopefully ultimately choosing to embrace the story with love, joy, hope, and peace.

The piece alternates between mostly-unison chant-like textures and aleatoric branching textures, in which the performers may choose their own path.

This piece is suitable for any Mixed-Voice Choir interested in exploring virtual singing and limited- aleatoric textures that give performers ownership of the material.

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Program Note: This simple melody was composed to inspire change through the art of singing. The melody can be sung completely in unison in any octave comfortable for the singers. It can also be performed as a  round, with each entrance 2 measures apart (see * for entrance points). Repeat as many times as desired. Feel free to close the round by all singing the melody in unison. There is an alternate verse that can be used  as a round to inspire people to create change through voting. Feel free to adjust the lyrics of  lines 1 and 4 to suit similar situations calling people to action.

Please report any performances or virtual choir broadcasts to amygordonmusic@gmail.com

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The music and lyrics of In the Morning began as an original song that Amy Gordon, the composer, wrote when she was 17 in 2004. It was then arranged for Mezzo-Soprano, Tenor, & Piano for her undergraduate recital at Loyola Marymount University in 2008. In this arrangement, In the Morning has been adapted for SATB Choir & Piano. The hope is that this text about finding strength in the midst of hardship will bring some comfort during the 2020 COVID-19 crisis that has rattled the entire world, including the choral world.

This arrangement would be suitable for any level of SATB Choir and would fit well into a concert about hope and triumph in the midst of trying times.

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I Celebrate Life (the second and last movement of the Light Cycle suite), commissioned by Jennifer Gaderlund for the Graham Middle School Choirs, sets the beautiful poem by Rhoda Gordon, the composer’s late grandmother, for SATB (orig. SSA) Choir and Piano. The piece opens with an excited yet hushed ostinato in the Piano. The choir sings the first four lines of the poem by repeating the beginning line and adding the next line until it is complete, utilizing the modern technique of additive processes popular in Minimalism. In the more pensive middle section, the ostinato transforms into a more poignant texture as the Choir “realizes the joy of being through seeing the glorious creation” that they are a part of. The ostinato then speeds up and returns to the hushed excitement heard in the opening. The piece concludes with the Choir building up to the most important line of the text: “The most powerful light to celebrate by is love.”

This piece is suitable for any Mixed-Voice ensemble.

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  JANUARY started off with a commission from Dr. Joesph Ohrt for the Central Bucks High School-West Choir of Doylestown, PA. This was an exciting project for me because I had the chance to collaborate with poet, Charles Anthony Silvestri, who has written the texts for some of my favorite choral composers such as Eric Whitacre. … Continue reading My 2019 Year in Review

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.

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I’m Still Here, the sixth poem from  Ocean Poems, sets the beautiful poem of the same name by Jonathan Talberg, Director of Choral, Vocal, & Opera Studies at California State University, Long Beach. The poem is dedicated to Al Talberg (1928-2018), Dr. 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.

 

This piece may be performed as a stand-alone piece or paired with When We’re Gone 10,000 Years as the complete Ocean Poems suite. This piece would be suitable for advanced high school, collegiate, and professional choirs.

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When We’re Gone 10,000 Years from Ocean Poems sets the beautiful poem of the same name by Jonathan Talberg, Director of Choral, Vocal, & Opera Studies at California State University, Long Beach. 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 trios, 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.

 

This piece may be performed as a stand-alone piece or paired with I’m Still Here as the complete Ocean Poems suite. This piece would be suitable for advanced high school, collegiate, and professional choirs.

Continue reading When We’re Gone 10,000 Years

Lawn (from I Wonder), commissioned for the Central Bucks High School-West Choir of Doylestown, Pennsylvania by Dr. Joseph Ohrt, is the sixth of thirteen short poems written by Charles Anthony Silvestri. Each of the thirteen poems explores a different perplexing thought, ranging from humorous to serious. Lawn is a semi-serious poem that asks why we spend so much time trying to control our lawns (and possibly lives), only to have to repeat the cycle every season. The musical setting features playful interactions between the voice parts and percussive, syncopated rhythms.

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This up-tempo arrangement of Joy to the World, commissioned by Jonathan Bautista and dedicated to Nova Vocal Ensemble, features lively rhythms, playful dialogue between the voices, and a fresh reharmonization of this beloved carol. Most of the melodic, rhythmic, and motivic counterpoint is adapted from another beloved carol, Deck the Halls.

This carol would fit well in any holiday-themed concert, Festival of Lessons and Carols, or sacred Christmas and/or Epiphany service.

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