Run Away, 2009 (5′)
for Roomful of Teeth (8 voices SATB)
Run Away was written at Mass MoCA in the summer of 2009, during the first-ever assemblage of Roomful of Teeth. I came up for the second week of their 2-week residency, not knowing what the group was capable of doing — a forgivable sin since the group itself was just beginning to learn their own abilities and capacities. With me, I brought some sketches that I felt could be adapted to whatever sounds I heard the singers produce; these were études of sorts, studies in rhythm and harmony that left a lot of room for different sounds in different places. Once I heard what the group was able to do, I adapted some of these with their varied techniques in mind, creating fully-formed pieces that combined my sketches with the sounds of the ensemble.
Run Away is a simple song that I wrote to feature the voice of Virginia Warnken. She sings over a “pad” that the men lay down, a blend of vocal sounds that approximates Tuvan singing but is mellowed considerably. The other women join Virginia at the end of the song, carrying the story on into the future.
All my works for Roomful of Teeth are extremely challenging and could only be performed by the singers of this incredible ensemble, to whom I give my deepest thanks.