Publisher: Chester Music
Commissioned by Brooklyn Youth Chorus
St. Rose Music Publishing
Chorus a cappella / Chorus plus 1 instrument
Syllables is an exploded setting of an old Icelandic text describing the end of the world. I say exploded as I elected to set the text both in English, fragments of Old Icelandic, as well as nonsense syllables taken from both languages. There is a constant, anxious pulse throughout the first section, which ends with a giant unison and the entire choir singing the same text for the first time in the piece. This texture melts into an aquatic, lilting piano accompaniment, over which a long, long line eventually dissolves into unison chordal syllables, as if the last things standing are the fragments of language.