Who Knows If The Moon's
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Voicing - SSAATB Chorus, soprano solo, and tenor solo, a cappella
Level - Intermediate
Language - English
Duration - 2:30
Category - Secular, Love, Balloons, Flight, Imagination, Spring
Who Knows If The Moon's was commissioned by Chris McGinely and was dedicated to Kevin and Rebecca DeYoe on the day of their wedding, May 10th, 2013. The piece was premiered at their wedding by friends and singers of the Pennsylvania Academy of Performing Arts under the direction of Chris McGinely.
When I was asked to set this poem to music, I did some research and felt that the poem was a metaphor death or an ascension into heaven or afterlife. However, after some discussion with the commissioner and given the event it was meant for, I enjoyed exploring a completely different interpretation of this text. Instead, I chose to examine this poem as a person in love, imagining a blissful world two people could fly away to together. I certainly found the imagery to be much like embarking on a new union and marriage.
The piece opens the same way it draws to its close with softly flowing oo's gradually building with the addition of each voice to mimic the ebb and flow of the breeze. The harmonies and colors throughout the piece are warm and bright. In honor of the bride and groom who are themselves a soprano and tenor, the piece features a soft soprano and tenor duet as the text speaks of getting into the balloon together to sail away.
By e.e. cummings
Who knows if the moon's a balloon
Coming out of a keen city in the sky
Filled with pretty people?
(and if you and I should
get into it, if they
Should take me and take you into their balloon,
We'd go up higher with all the pretty people
Than houses and steeples and clouds:
Away and away sailing into a keen
City which nobody's ever visited,
Where always it's Spring) and everyone's
In love and flowers pick themselves