Written as a part of a residency at the Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity, Canada
Before the West (mixed choir)
This poem by Emily Dickinson is, as much of her poetry, about life, death, and the afterlife. What happens to us when we die? And is death just another beginning? A new dawn? The piece arose from a composer’s residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Canada, where I had the opportunity to work with all professional choir Pro Coro Canada, their conductor Michael Zaugg, and the Danish/Swedish conductor Lone Larsen. The focus point for the piece was to explore how I, as a composer, could find new ways to utilise the many different timbres of the human voice and what it is capable of producing, and even if I, by no means explored any extreme qualities of the voice, I broadened my own perspective as a composer. In the music, I have tried to bring out the conflict between death and dawn, and musically I want people to feel that they are on the verge of something they do not know. The fear we feel, facing something new and uncertain, standing in the middle looking back, not knowing if we are at the end of the road, the sunset, or at the beginning of something new: the dawn.