(story & libretto by Paul Gallico; additional text by Rachel Field) songs and incidental music for a reading / melodrama for SATB choir, oboe, cello, piano, and percussion; 30-35’ of music; about 60-75' total (2016) (commissioned by the Madison Youth Choirs)
video recording, performed live by actor Richard Hilger with the Madison Youth Choirs, dir. Michael Ross: (note: this version is abridged; it is missing some music and has abruptly edited transitions)
composer's note: "The Snow Goose" by Paul Gallico is the much-beloved tale of an unlikely friendship set along England's North Sea shore during World War II. A few years before I wrote my music for "The Snow Goose," my friend Mike Ross, Artistic Director of the Madison Youth Choirs, did a sort of impromptu accompaniment to actor Richard Hilger reading this classic aloud. In this first version, the choir sang some of their pre-existing concert repertoire before & after the reading, and Mike improvised some incidental music on the piano. This event was so beloved by those who attended that Mike knew it had to become even MORE of a real collaboration between choir & actor, and so this project was born.
My music for "The Snow Goose" includes a few things: first, a prelude based on Rachel Field's "Something Told the Wild Geese," a poem that relates to Gallico's text in remarkable ways. Next, a number of interstitial choral settings, which take some especially resonant moment's in Gallico's story and extend them out into choral interludes that illuminate the mood & emotions in the storytelling. Third, incidental music for some moments in the story that felt like they could use some music beneath them, propelling them along. And lastly, a postlude that combines Rachel Field's poem with one of the most poignant moments in Gallico's text to create a dramatic tear-jerker of an ending for the whole storytelling / musical hybrid experience.