Instrumentation or Chorus: SATB divisi, recorder, piano, and percussion
Difficulty: High School, University, or Community
Text: “The Poet Pleads with The Elemental Powers” by W. B. Yeats
Instruments Needed: Two percussion parts: Tambourine, and Bodhran (or other large hand drum).
Piccolo may be used as substitute for recorder.
Most of my secular works for choir are in some way a celebration of my Irish-American roots. The Elemental Powers (2009) embodies this more so than most any other work I’ve written. It is available for both men’s chorus and SATB.
The poem, by famed Irish poet W. B. Yeats, is a difficult text to analyze. Part of his larger collection The Wind Among the Reeds, the text on the surface seems to lament a lost love while also stressing many mystic elements of Celtic folklore. The Wind Among the Reeds as a whole showed Yeats’ deep respect for Irish legendry, and evokes a world reflecting his at times unusual outlook on life. This made the soundscape of The Elemental Powers very important to me, trying to capture that same mysticism, raw energy, and epic adventure.
The men’s choir version was premiered by University of Tennessee Men’s Choir under the direction of Dr. Gene Peterson. The SATB version was premiered shortly after by University of Miami Frost Chorale under the direction of Dr. Karen Kennedy.