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Sarah Kirkland Snider

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Selections from 'Unremembered' (2015)
Work Notes
Live performances of Unremembered are further brought to vivid, immersive life through the inclusion of the Unremembered artwork, created by the cycle’s writer/illustrator, Nathaniel Bellows. For image/video licensing information for Unremembered artwork, please write to
Text Writer
Nathaniel Bellows
G Schirmer Inc
Solo Voices and 1-6 players
Year Composed
arr. 2018
18 Minutes
Soprano, Tenor [or Countertenor or Soprano in The Slaughterhouse]
Programme Note
Sarah Kirkland Snider Selections from 'Unremembered' (2015)
Related works:
   Scenes from 'Unremembered' for vocal octet or choir and piano - 18'
   Selections from 'Unremembered' for two voices, quartet, and electronics - 18'
   The Swan from 'Unremembered' for voice and piano - 4'
   Three Songs from 'Unremembered' for mezzo-soprano, chamber orchestra, and electronics - 16'
   Unremembered for 7 voices, chamber orchestra, and electronics - 57'
   Unremembered for 3 voices, chamber orchestra, and electronics - 57'
   Unremembered for 3 voices, ensemble, and electronics - 57'

1. The Guest
2. The Slaughterhouse
3. The Girl
4. The Swan
5. The Speakers

Songs can be performed separately.

Performance notes:
Unremembered is influenced by both Western classical and vernacular (indie rock/pop/folk) traditions. Vocally, the music desires a relaxed, natural approach, drawing on aspects of both classical and vernacular performance practice without leaning too far in either direction. Depending on the vocalists, amplification of both vocalists and ensemble may be advised.

Program note:
In full, Unremembered is an hour long, thirteen-movement song cycle inspired by poems and illustrations by writer and visual artist, Nathaniel Bellows. The piece was originally conceived for seven live voices and chamber orchestra; this arrangement of five of the songs requires two wide-ranged vocalists and puts the remaining five voices on pre-recorded tracks which are incorporated into the electronic sound design.

A meditation on memory, innocence, and the haunted grandeur of the natural world, Unremembered recalls strange and beautiful happenings experienced during a childhood in rural Massachusetts: a house-guest takes sudden leave in the middle of the night; a boy makes a shocking discovery on a riverbank; a girl disappears in woods behind a ranging farm; ghosts appear with messages for the living. The cycle explores the ways in which beguiling events in early life can resonate in — and prepare us for — the subtler horrors that lie beyond the realm of childhood.

An early version of five songs from Unremembered was commissioned by Roomful of Teeth in 2011. The next five songs were commissioned by the Ecstatic Music Festival and Kaufman Music Center in 2012. Three songs followed, and the entire cycle was newly orchestrated in 2013, followed by this arrangement of selected songs in 2018.

“Unremembered is all about exploding genres, bringing Van Dyke Parks into conversation with John Adams, My Brightest Diamond into collision with Edgard Varèse, and art song into contact with concept album. A recording is out now on New Amsterdam Records, and it’s great.”
Dan Ruccia, Indy Week,05/10/2015
“[Unremembered is] haunting, orchestral and poetic…cinematic and atmospheric…”
Interview Magazine, ,23/09/2015
“[Unremembered is] music of thoughtful inquiry and humane emotion, willing to embrace a modicum (or more) of overt beauty but suspicious toward too-easy sentiment or the merely pretty and ornamental…a heady blend of thoughtful intricacy with forthright emotional appeal…the setting composed for each [song] is rhythmically and tonally distinct, a sequence of craftily detailed tableaux, rich with surprise and nuance.”
George Wallace, Genre, I’m Only Dancing, “A Boy’s Own Gothic",04/09/2015
“…Unremembered is as enthralling in its musical flow as its lyrical narrative, and the way Snider guides, teases, and manipulates the listener is masterful. It’s a stunning, immensely rewarding experience…”
Adrien Begrand, PopMatters,27/08/2015
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