Amy Gordon, an LA-based composer, has a catalog of almost 40 choral works, including pieces for treble choirs and online performance. In addition to her compositional activity, she teaches theory and has created a theory-themed Escape Room game (called Escape Tone), available in both Easy and Intermediate for purchase on her website.
This blog is going to highlight two of her pieces. I reached out to the composer and asked her to share two pieces that might be accessible for a variety of ages or organizations. She suggested these two pieces, and I am thrilled she shared these two! She has works that span a variety of difficulties and explore a wide array of text uses, so if you enjoy these two pieces, I recommend checking out her website.
In Times of Hibernation for SATB Choir and cello is part of a larger five-movement, Songs of Hope in Strange Times. Each cycle chronicles a stage of the pandemic, but can also be applied more broadly. The second movement focuses on the idea of waiting as we wait for events to unfold and time to move forward. The piece was commissioned by the LA-based SACRA/PROFANA, and premiered in October 2020 on YouTube: In Times of Hibernation.
The movement is loosely supported by the cello part, but also allows the choirs to sing independently. Options for a solo, story-telling dynamics, and relative extended techniques in combination with the incredible, composer-written text provide an opportunity for singers to explore a very personal story.
Half the world in slumber
Half know neither night nor day
The ticking of the clock stopped
The rustle of pages silent.
Is it here, in this state of waiting,
We hold our breath with time?
I Celebrate Life for SATB Choir and piano or Treble Choir and piano (link for SSA here) is the second piece in the short cycle Light Up. 75% of the proceeds from this piece go to the Equal Sounds Corona Relief fund, which is an organization that supports artists who lost gigs when COVID hit. The text is by Rhoda Gordon, Amy’s late grandmother. Set in changing compound meter, the piece energizes and engages the singers and listeners through “the additive processes popular in Minimalism.” Both the Treble and SATB arrangement allow for quick success of pitches, enabling the singers to spend time working balance, dynamics, articulation, and text expression. There are also rehearsal tracks available free of cost to any choir interested in a virtual performance of this piece.
Listen to the Treble arrangement here.
I celebrate life
The joy of being
Creation I am part of.
The most powerful
Life to celebrate by