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Abstract

Pairing the 13th century Stabat Mater text with Libby Chaney’s 21st-century poem “To Hold You” reflects the constancy of grief on the timeline of humanity. Many issues divide us geographically, socioeconomically, or ideologically; however, grief is a universal human experience. While the texts chosen for this piece focus on a parent’s loss of a child, I have come to understand in writing this work that any time a life is lost before we are ready, is a disruption of the cycle we expect; “for the old to die and be replaced by the young.” The words set in this composition weave a tapestry of the irrational and inconsistent experience of grief, paired with sounds and gestures that ask musicians to traverse the expanse between unity and disrepair. “And it was Quiet” is a 40-minute work for choir and chamber orchestra that explores a cumulative processing of loss, providing sound in this place so that we may turn inward, reflect, and navigate our own memories; and still, we are surrounded by others, doing the same.

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