[A reminder: this video is an electronic rendering of the score using choral samples, offered to give listeners a sense of the composition. As such, the performance doesn’t include the lyrics — see those below. When a live performance is available, I’ll be removing this video and replacing it with that.]

This movement was written “programmatically” (if one can say that of a composition with lyrics): chord clusters/melodic fragments are interspersed with spaces of blank air, reflecting the nature of our lives in 2020. Structurally, the piece is in AABA, with sopranos and tenors swapping solo leadership in the A sections, and the B section providing a more linear/contrapuntal rendering of the “…substitute[s]…” in the lyrics.

Although tonally written in a minor key, not a lot of attention has been paid to the “root” chord. The piece begins in B minor, transitions to C# minor, then A minor, returning to B minor only for the final chord of the movement.


We found the virus’ reach,
Demanded such of us
So many changes came,
Lost voices, loving touch.
It forced an inward gaze,
Away from malls and streets,
From offices and schools,
So much was out of reach.

We learned to substitute
The kitchen, for the bar.
A bike ride was our gym,
Our back yard, city park.
Though isolation ached,
As summer moved to fall,
Some things we missed so much,
While others, not at all.

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Go to 20-20: A Choral Suite home