(text & melody: Appalachian folk song) arrangement for quadruple SATB choirs (SSSSAAAATTTTBBBB); 5' (2007) (commissioned by Dr. Bruce Gladstone)
performed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Madrigal Singers & Chorale, dir. Bruce Gladstone:
composer’s note: I have long been in love with Appalachian folk music, both the fascinating beauty of the melodies and the amazing storytelling of the lyrics. It seems magical, in a way, that as this obsession was reaching its peak in the late ’00s, I moved to rural Appalachia, in a small rural corner of Southwest Virginia. This song, to which I added the title “Ten Thousand Miles,” but which goes by many names, is a very old one, and one of my all-time favorites. When I set about arranging it for choral forces, I wanted to create something ultra-lush, something that takes this plaintive song and ramps up the emotional stakes to incredibly high levels. So this arrangement is for four individual SATB choirs, and as the piece moves along, it gets more and more hyper-romantic in its declarations, until finally at the climactic moment, we arrive at full-blown 16-part harmonies that explode with energy and wild sonic flights of fancy. My overall goal is that this kind of bombast can happily co-exist with the understated beauty of “Ten Thousand Miles,” and that my arrangement can contain both, allowing the simple & honest to coexist with the deeply emotional.