Sins & Songs: Sarah Kirkland Snider
The American Composers Orchestra recently interviewed composer Sarah Kirkland Snider. Selections from her work Unremembered will be performed Friday, February 27 in Zankel Hall.
Read an excerpt of the interview below.
Composer Sarah Kirkland Snider writes music of direct expression and vivid narrative that has been hailed as “rapturous” (The New York Times), “haunting” (The Los Angeles Times), and “strikingly beautiful” (Time Out New York). ACO's Orchestra Underground and special guest Shara Worden will perform "The Swan" and "The Witch" from Sarah's 13-song cycle Unremembered at Sins & Songs on February 27 at Carnegie Hall.
Sarah was kind enough to share some thoughts about the piece and the upcoming performance.
American Composers Orchestra: Unremembered features the poetry of New York-based poet Nathaniel Bellows. What initially drew you to his poetry? What prompted you to use his work in Unremembered?
Sarah Kirkland Snider: Nathaniel is an old friend of mine; we met while undergraduates at Middlebury College. Unremembered began as a commission from the vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth. I had been looking for an opportunity to collaborate with Nathaniel for a few years; I think our work shares a sensibility in terms of its lyricism and attraction to shadowed, elegiac, and dramatic narratives. The Roomful of Teeth residency took place at Mass MoCA, which seemed like an ideal place to collaborate with Nathaniel, since much of his work is about his childhood in rural Massachusetts.
American Composers Orchestra: Shara Worden and Orchestra Underground will perform "The Swan" and "The Witch" from your 13-song cycle. What made you choose these 2 songs over others for the February 27 concert at Carnegie Hall?
Sarah Kirkland Snider: It was partly practical: these songs feature only Shara, whereas other songs in the cycle feature a tenor (D.M. Stith) and/or baritone (Padma Newsome), or all three of them together. Beyond that, I thought these two songs would pair well, as they're of contrasting moods and tempos. "The Swan" begins gently, slowly, with reflection, while "The Witch" is a more raucous and somewhat terrifying affair. And together they represent the larger meaning of the cycle; on the whole, Unremembered is about innocence, experience, and the hard-won wisdom that comes with the passing of time.
|Monday, February 23 at 8 PM
American Composers Orchestra
Cited for “consistently champion[ing] contemporary music with consistent excellence” (The New York Times), the American Composers Orchestra showcases world premieres by daring young composers and a classic by Weill, who called his Seven Deadly Sins—his last collaboration with playwright Bertolt Brecht—a “ballet in song,” filled with memorable songs cast in the popular styles of the day.