"Ecospheres," composed in 2019-2020, is an evocation of the urgency that should move us in a time of environmental crisis and climate change. The music is meant both to suggest what is being lost and to give voice to an aspiration--hope may be too great a reach--to preserve as much as we can: to keep what remains.
"Remains" is the name of a cycle of prose poems on these themes by Elisabeth Frost and of a collection of photographs, paired with the poems, by Dianne Kornberg. Two of the poems, "Passerine" and "Wolf," give their texts to "Ecospheres," which sets them as its first and third movements, respectively. The middle movement, "Valley," combines a text by the composer, inspired by a poem by Alice Oswald, with an adaptation of a biblical passage, the valley of dry bones from the book of Ezekiel. The key question of the 17-18 minute cycle is the one asked by the ancient prophet: can these bones live?
This studio recording was made one day before the premiere of the work by members of Contemporaneous at Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall in February 2022: Nathaniel Sullivan, baritone; David Bloom, conductor; Yoshi Weinberg, flute; Christina Teuschler, clarinet; Blair Hamrick, French horn; Finnegan Shanahan, violin; Sarah Haines, viola; and Amanda Gookin, cello.
Credits: "Passerine" copyright 2017 by Elisabeth Frost, "Wolf" copyright 2018 by Elisabeth Frost. Printed, set, and posted by permission; the texts may be reproduced in program notes provided that copyright credit is given.
The image of the water nymph in "Valley,"an ancient bone figurine seeking to revive her lost environment milieu, was inspired by Alice Oswald's poem "Dunt: A Poem for a "Dried-Up River." The passage describing the valley of dry bones derives from Ezekiel 37, KJV.