Of Time and Passing (2016) is a cycle of three choral songs written specifically for the London-based ensemble, VOCES8, taking into consideration their versatility and ability to beautifully intone a range of vocal colors with precision and grace.
I. Life, sets my translation of the poem A Vida by Brazilian poet Olavo Bilac (1865-1918), a poet I discovered while studying Brazilian Portuguese at the University of Michigan. I was drawn both to the simplicity of the text and to the possibilities of teasing out dual contrasting moods. In the beginning and end, this song explores a texture that is very much alive: wave-like contours, throbbing sounds, and plenty of flowing movement. Rising eighth-note motives in particular emphasize the fleetingness of life. But in the middle of the song, the listener is given a slowed-down atmosphere to savor life’s beauty.