To What Listens (2016)  is a setting of five poems by the farmer, environmental activist and poet Wendell Berry.  The common thread linking the poems is that each moment is unique and special and will never come again - only by being fully present can we appreciate the beauty that is right now.  Our individual actions moment by moment impact the future.  By understanding this, we can and must be both fully present and looking to what is ahead.  The poems are both hopeful and cautionary, and all of them use bird song as a deep symbol.  Habitat loss is causing the woods to become quieter, so it is more important than ever that we listen to “the hidden singers”.  Wendell Berry’s poems remind us of our fundamental relationship with nature and how this relationship is tenuous.  By appreciating and taking care of what’s in front of us now, we create the future.  In setting the poems I tried to capture the beauty and simplicity of the language.  The idea of listening to what’s in front of us, to give the birds a voice and to musically express this relationship metaphorically between the instruments and the choir; they are sometimes in concert and at other times disparate.

 
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