Listen | SSAA Chorus & Piano | 5'
Barbara Crooker's text for Listen entreats us to look and listen to the world surrounding us.
Reading this poem for the first time, I found the potential for music in so many of its elements, including the words "We were made for song" and the way the narrator gently reminds us of the circular nature of all living things. In this setting, the idea of constant waxing and waning is reflected in the vocal writing, as voices cycle through unison singing and more independent lines.
Listen was commissioned by the Muskego High School Sorelle Cantanti, Genevieve Michels, conductor.
Want to perform this piece? Listen is available through Hal Leonard.
I want to tell you something. This morning
is bright after all the steady rain, and every iris,
peony, rose, opens its mouth, rejoicing.
I want to say, wake up, open your eyes, there’s
a snow-covered road ahead, a field of blankness,
a sheet of paper, an empty screen. Even
the smallest insects are singing, vibrating
their entire bodies, tiny violins of longing
and desire. We were made for song.
I can’t tell you what prayer is, but I can take
the breath of the meadow into my mouth,
and I can release it for the leaves’ green need.
I want to tell you your life is a blue coal, a slice
of orange in the mouth, cut hay in the nostrils.
The cardinals’ red song dances in your blood.
Look, every month the moon blossoms
into a peony, then shrinks to a sliver of garlic.
And then it blooms again.