Matt Van  Brink, composer, pianist, accordionist

White, Those that Stayed Still (2010)

SATB chorus | 3 mins.
setting of "Colors" by Eduardo Galeano, translated by Cedric Belfrage

Winner of IFCM International Choral Composition Competition

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.

First performed by La Cantoria de la Merced, August 2011, Puerto Madryn

Words excerpted from MEMORY OF FIRE: GENESIS by Eduardo Galeano. Copyright © 1982 by Eduardo Galeano. Translation copyright © 1985 by Cedric Belfrage. Published by Nation Books, and in Spanish by Siglo XXI Editores, México. By permission of Susan Bergholz Literary Services, New York, NY and Lamy, NM. All rights reserved.

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