2014 // 3'
for SSATTB chorus
text by Carl Sandburg
composed for the Boston Conservatory Chorale, dir. George Case
premiered April 20, 2014, at The Boston Conservatory
Follies is a piece about growing old from a young man's point of view. The text, by Carl Sandburg, uses nature imagery to describe the passing of years and the act of remembrance. The music responds with simple, plaintive melodies, passing through intense counterpoint and a period of sparseness, and culminating in an explosion of color. Primarily driven by textural change, the piece finally takes flight harmonically at the end, in a direct, cathartic outpouring. Follies also takes inspiration from Stephen Sondheim's musical of the same name and subject matter--a study of memory and regret.
Writing the piece in six parts -- with split sopranos and tenors -- allowed for particularly rich counterpoint and the creation of layers in the initial section of the piece. These layers contrast with a later period of thin, flat utterances, portraying the emptiness felt as one looks back on a past that is forever lost. The chorus unites for the first time at the end, as the glory of memory--of a life well-lived--triumphs over nostalgic longing.
SSATTB a cappella chorus