Song Hearts

SATB A cappella

Text by Carl Sandburg [excerpt, PD in Canada]

3 min [please email for score/review score]

Commissioned by Dr. Jennifer Lang for the University of Saskatchewan’s University and Community Chorus

Text is an excerpt of a poem by Carl Sandburg, and freely adapted by the composer. The original poem is in the public domain.

text: “People singing; people with song mouths connecting with song hearts; people who must sing or die; people whose song hearts break if there is no song mouth; these are my people.”

This composition is inspired by the idea that what joins us in our humanity is our connection to song. Songs which fill us with hope, love, nostalgia — grief; songs connect our spirits and synchronize our heartbeats as we join together. During the pandemic, songs are potentially dangerous during the time of unsafe air and global instability. This piece is a quiet reflection for our time during the pandemic, and offers us a moment to remember that though we may be distantly singing, our hearts are filled with song.

“Song Hearts” incorporates a homophonic texture and an ABA structure. Moments of syncopation, and subtle texture changes with phrases out of the diatonic E major provide phrases of tension and motion.