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Sarah Kirkland Snider

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Unremembered (for 3 voices and octet) (2016)
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 nathaniel@nathanielbellows.com
Text Writer
Nathaniel Bellows
Publisher
G Schirmer Inc
Category
Soloists and Large Ensemble (7+ players)
Year Composed
2016
Duration
57 Minutes
Language
English
Solo Instrument(s)
3 voices
Programme Note
Sarah Kirkland Snider Unremembered (for 3 voices and octet) (2016)
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'


Score



Performances
Reviews
The piece was easy to drift into and I felt lighter a few minutes into the performance. The mix of Snider’s haunting score with Nova’s vocals and projected art seamlessly drifted from sweet to spooky to somber. I only meant to stay for a part of the performance, but ended up watching the entire thing.
Carey Hodges, Knoxville Mercury,24/03/2017
“In her cycle of thirteen songs for multiple voices and chamber orchestra, Sarah Kirkland Snider uses poems by Nathaniel Bellows to address various topics—memory, natural beauty and the intermingling of mystery, pain and pleasure that often accompanies recollections from childhood. She calls on an array of styles to conjure her evocative, strangely beautiful soundscapes…Snider excels at capturing the hazy swirl of memories that can haunt an entire lifetime. Her tonal language is often quite sophisticated and harmonically probing, with impressively layered textures of voices and instruments… the three alluring, flexible vocalists—Padma Newsome, DM Stith, and Shara Worden—provide affecting, lyrical renderings of Snider’s melodies, which are otherworldly and ear-catching. …Edwin Outwater conducts a good-sized, impressive-sounding chamber orchestra, and “sound design” is credited to Michael Hammond, Lawson White, and Snider, referring presumably to the skillful way electric and acoustic sounds have been interwoven. Snider clearly has a lot to say that’s worth listening to, and Bellows’ poems (which are accompanied in the booklet by attractive stained glass-style artwork), seem perfectly matched to her restless, inquisitive artistic sensibility.”
Joshua Rosenblum, Opera News,01/02/2016
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,02/10/2015
[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,04/09/2015
Snider’s lyrical and oft-rapturous music is characterized by immense poise and sophistication…[her] artful handling of vocal counterpoint and orchestral writing impresses mightily, and one comes away from the piece struck by her ability to create a miniature vocal symphony within the parameters of a four-minute time-frame…Examples of Snider’s invention abound…Unremembered presents a world rooted in childhood experiences that on the surface appears innocent enough yet discloses upon closer inspection a murkier realm beneath its skin. As fully realized a work as Penelope, this hour-long follow-up reaffirms Snider’s stature as a modern composer of significant note and accomplishment.
Ron Schepper, textura,01/09/2015
…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
In 13 warped and eerie songs, Snider dives into the world of a New England childhood, channel[ing] the ghostly simplicity of a Brothers Grimm fairy tale. [Unremembered] refracts reality just as memory does. From the first stabs of strings and militant drums, “The Witch” throws you in the middle of a hunt — a frightened child flees an ominous specter… Even though Bellows’ words speak of a moment long ago, the music tugs them into the present. Snider’s forceful orchestra, led by sharp stomps from the cellos, chases Worden, sometimes enveloping her completely.
NPR Songs We Love,28/07/2015
Snider’s settings were as wonderfully varied as [Bellows’ poetry], with a musical vocabulary rooted in Björk, Steve Reich and David Lang. While I very much enjoyed the neo-medieval polyphony of “The Guest” and Vespertine-like glassiness of “The Swan,” it was the third song, “The Witch,” that stole the show. The song feels like a glimpse into an entirely new sound world, melding the sneaky bass lines and rhythms of a My Brightest Diamond number with the unsettling orchestral interjections of Thomas Adès and some kind of obliquely driving rock. It was the perfect showcase for Worden, who acted the words as much as she sang them, contorting her body to match the ebbs and flows of the music. The song ended far too soon, and I wanted to spend more time exploring its possibilities. All the more reason, I suppose, to look forward to the new work of hers the NCS will premiere in September.
Dan Ruccia, Indy Week,29/04/2015
In selections from Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Unremembered, Worden set aside the pep for something more subdued. Based on grisly subject matter, “The Swan” was dark, cinematic, and passionately delivered. “The Witch” was intense, curling, and fierce, with groundwork laid by a jazzy guitar shuffle. If these two selections are any indication, Unremembered is a deeply personal, brave work from Snider. Her music provided a somber, if not unwelcome, lull to the evening.
Elias Blumm, I Care If You Listen,12/03/2015
Based on wistful poetry by Nathaniel Bellows, and augmented with projections of his art and animations, the piece was an involving and moving success on first brush…with depths that urge repeated listening.
Steve Smith, Night After Night,23/02/2013
What drew all these artists together was Unremembered, a new song cycle by Ms. Snider based on a sequence of 10 poems by Nathaniel Bellows… Employing a broader temperamental palette than she used for Penelope Ms. Snider still showed a predilection for the wistful and melancholy. Again she made striking use of Ms. Worden’s distinctive voice, conveying innocence, ambiguity and insight. The work attested to Ms. Snider’s thorough command of musical mood setting, organically integrating the structural economy and direct impact of pop songs with deft, subtle orchestrations that lent emotional gravity and nuance.
Steve Smith, The New York Times,11/02/2013
Snider’s “Unremembered,” with text by Nathaniel Bellows, emerged as the night’s highlight. With full orchestra, [Shara] Worden, six backing vocalists and electronics, Snider created intricate, color-saturated landscapes that made one want more than one listen to plumb their layers of detail.
Ronni Reich, The NJ Star-Leger,09/02/2013
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