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THE BOOK OF NEVER (2017-2020)
A choral cycle based on the Novgorod Codex — a book of Ukranian psalms from 999 A.D. overwritten hundreds of times with heretical sermons by an excommunicated Pagan missionary — built on echos of ancient hymn fragments, the first words of a now-forgotten language, a banished monk’s apocalyptic visions of a distant future, and scraps of text by contemporary writers in exile.
A WAY FAR HOME (2016)
Chorus (SSAATTBB), Org
A tapestry of choral images that freely arrange the 1,451 words from poet Kazim Ali's English translation of Marguerite Duras’ proto-screenplay L’amour, loosely based on her youth as a colonial settler in Saigon and the France she “returned” to for the first time just as the Nazis came to power across Europe, each ravaged by occupation.
SNOW REQUIEM (2015)
Sop, Vln, Str Orch, Hrp, 4 Perc, Chor
An anti-cantata based on author David Laskin’s account of the Children’s Blizzard of 1888. Combines fragments of Norwegian folk song transcriptions from the tralling and Hardanger fiddle traditions, as well as sonifications of weather data fashioned into clouds of orchestral noise and wordless vocal chorales.
POEMS OF SHEER NOTHINGNESS (2013)
Sop, Fl, Cl, Vln, Vcl, Pno
Five troubadour verses on the subject of songwriting in their original Occitan, carefully scattered among transcribed and fragmented audio recordings of Helgeson's work sessions while setting them, creating music that's a poetic record of its own making.
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