Alto solos | SATB choir | Unaccompanied | 6'
For Brandon Elliot and The Choral Arts Initiative
In 2018, California experienced its deadliest wild fire in history, completely destroying the town of Paradise. The text for this work comes from a YouTube comment wherein an anonymous resident of Paradise returns after the fire. They describe singing the Irish folk song The Parting Glass to the ruins of their home as a way to apologize for surviving. With heartrending specificity, the text captures the pain of being left behind and the loss of place-identity, while the music lives both in the horror of the present and the memory of the past. The alto solos form a mnemonic trigger, incessantly reminding us that while we no longer live there, it was still home.
At the ecstatic height of the music, the solos and two interior voices quote The Parting Glass just as the author did - "and since it falls unto the my lot that I should rise and you should not."