All That Could Never Be Said

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Program Notes, and Rehearsal Materials


Text: Sara Teasdale
Duration: 3 min
Year: 2022

PROGRAM NOTES: With a simple melody inspired by children's songs, "All That Could Never Be Said" is a setting of Sara Teasdale's poem "In the End". Showcasing her signature pairing of nihilism and pastoral beauty, the poem is an exploration of regret: it suggests that the consequences of our inaction are final and absolute. There are no second chances to speak up or to act, and all our missed opportunities will be lost to us until we're reunited with them in death.

In the context of extinction, it mirrors the concept of 'tipping points' in environmental science--thresholds that, should we cross them, will be irreversible.

My setting re-imagines the text as a simple children's melody, recasting the entirety of The Lost Birds as a fable. And just like in the story of "The Grasshopper and the Ant", the moral of the story is that our inaction in the face of slow extinction will ultimately doom us.

Choral Octavo
SSAATTBB a cappella
North America Purchase: Hal Leonard