I Will Be Earth, for SATB Chorus (text by May Swenson)
Premiered on Jun. 6, 2015 in Baltimore, MD
By Joshua Glassman and the Mt. Vernon Consort.
Swenson’s ecstatic words, elaborating the permeable barrier between love
and lust, emotional and physical connection, tumble over each other,
breaking conventions ofpunctuation, grammar, and syntax. In the first
stanza, Swenson assigns her and the poem’s addressee the roles of
complementary objects, interlocking pieces. In the second stanza, she
latches onto the maritime imagery that ends the first stanza,
transubstantiating the ground to a flood, roots to oars, describing an
endless rocking of pleasure and almost dangerous, animal desire. The
musical setting reprises the first stanza, with even more clamorous
tumbling of amorous voices.