That Music Always Round Me (2016)
Medium: SATB with divisi, orchestra
Length: ~7 min
Composed toward the end of his life, That Music Always Round Me is a poem by the American poet, Walt Whitman. The text relates, in beautiful detail, the poet’s experience listening to a piece and understanding not only the music, but also the performers themselves. Set to music in 2015 for the MSU Denver choirs and orchestra, this work is sectional, mirroring the descriptions of the various voices and instruments mentioned in the poem. One might argue that the only fault to be found with the poem is that Whitman describes in detail the musical characteristics of tenors, sopranos, and basses, but fails to mention the altos. The composer has sought to rectify this unintentional oversight by allowing the altos to enter first singing the opening line of the poem, and they later restate that opening line at the end of the work. The piece is defined by numerous meter changes, and a harmonic structure that relies on extended chords with frequent changes in key center.
Single orchestral score: $8.00
Score with orchestra and choir parts: $150.00