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In This Short Life - based on two Emily Dickinson texts


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  • 1 month later...

There are a lot of cool ideas in this one--especially in the piano part. But maybe that's also at the root of my main critique of this piece: basically, the piano part struck me as having TOO much variety (with many different textural ideas that rarely come back) while I wanted more variety from the choir (they're always homophonic with similar thick chords, and a similar rhythmic profile in every section).

I think m. 101 was my favourite part for 2 reasons: (1) you limit the harmony to only 2 pitch classes, which creates a sudden sense of clarity (this was a nice contrast to the generally-thick harmonies, and I think you could do this kind of thing more often to create contrast in a piece this long). And (2) it's the only place the choir breaks from its usual rhythms. More of this, please!

And again, there are SO many nice ideas in the piano part, but I think there are at least 2 different compositions' worth. In particular, the free ascending arpeggios at the beginning and the 32nd note figure at m. 94 stood out to me, and I wish they were explored more throughout the piece.

Out of curiosity, was there a reason you chose this particular style (running the whole gamut between discord and traditional tonality) for this text? I think it's always interesting to hear how composers think about the relationship between music and words.

Anyway, those are just my random thoughts. I find a lot of choral composers (even a few really successful ones) tend to write boring piano accompaniments, and it's good to see someone who does the opposite! Nice work.

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