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Music | Marc-André Bougie

A note from the composer:

I composed
“Music” following a commission from the Texas Two-Year College Choir Directors Association in honor of Dr. Jim Lee for his service to the group. I discovered the poem over ten years ago listening to the Writers’ Almanac with Garrison Keillor on NPR. The depth of the poem, tying together the power of music and of the origin of its creation and creator, moved me profoundly. I set the poem for full choir, piano, and solo cello.


The piece begins with an enigmatic duet between the cello playing pizzicato (representing the steps of God behind his creation) and bright piano arpeggios ending on an unsettling, augmented chord. The first two strophes of the poem are then split between sopranos and altos first, and tenors and basses a little later. All parts finally come together for the main theme of the piece in D major (Why is it). A middle section in the G minor Dorian mode follows – as the poem speaks of our legendary quest for paradise. It is followed by the return of the main theme, this time in B major (And when music). Ensues a theme in C minor whereas creation and our memory of it are described (We vaguely remember the fields). The piece then ends in the manner it began, with pizzicato playing from the cello, and piano arpeggios.


Music was premiered at TMEA by the Two-Year Colleges Honor Choir in San Antonio, TX - February 11, 2023, and conducted by Dr. Craig Jessop.