Matt Van  Brink, composer, pianist, accordionist

White, Those that Stayed Still (2010)

SATB chorus | 3 mins. | VIDEO
setting of a text by Eduardo Galeano
First performed by La Cantoria de la Merced, 5 August 2011, Puerto Madryn, Argentina

Performance by the World Youth Choir, Grete Pedersen, conductor

Eduardo Galeano has made an evocative encapsulation of a story from Kadiweu mythology about the origin of the colors of birds. This particular story is full of talking animals and the blood of a martyred child, yet I am drawn to the magical realism of myths like this one. From our vantage point in an age of science, I am in awe of the thousands of stories which sought to explain the mysteries of our world.

The music enhances the mystery, wandering without a true key center for the entire piece. It is a consonant world full of fourths and fifths, and the harmony often finds a pocket of tonality before skating off again, searching elsewhere. The piece finally comes to rest on E-flat, but even then there are extra notes, casting shadows. Nothing truly resolved, nothing truly explained.

“White Those That Stayed Still” is a setting of “Colors,” a text from Memory of Fire, 1. Genesis by Eduardo Galeano. Translated by Cedric Belfrage. Used by permission.

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