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Gregory Spears

The Tower and the Garden

for SATB choir and string quartet

(2018)
Text informationText by Thomas Merton, Denise Levertov, and Keith Garebian
Duration35'
MovementsI. “80”
II. “In The Land Of Shinar”
III. “Dungeness Documentary”
CommissionCommissioned by Cantori New York, The Crossing, Notre Dame Vocale, and Volti with funding provided by The Ann Stookey Fund for New Music
PremiereOctober 27, 2018; The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, PA; The Crossing • Donald Nally, conductor
LanguageEnglish
PublisherSchott Music

Media

Program Note

The Tower and the Garden is a setting of three poems for choir and string quartet. The texts juxtapose the dangers of technological hubris (the tower) and the need for a place of refuge (the garden) in a world threatened by war and ecological disaster. Each text suggest ways in which Catholic thought and imagery might challenge the status quo.

The first text, poem 80 from the collection “Cables to the Ace,” was written by Trappist monk and social activist Thomas Merton. It is an eschatological meditation on the garden of Gethsemane, where Christ’s disciples slept on the eve of his crucifixion. Merton compares their slumber to society’s indifference to the destruction of our natural world by potentially dangerous new technologies and war.

The second text was written by poet and Catholic activist Denise Levertov. It is a meditation on the Tower of Babel and the tendency for technology in the information and nuclear age to serve only its own growth and to potentially destroy our lives in the bargain.

The third poem, written by Keith Garebian, is an homage to queer filmmaker Derek Jarman and his cottage garden at Dungeness on the English coast. Situated precariously between a towering nuclear power plant and the sea, the garden was Jarman’s austere refuge during the final months of his struggle with AIDS. While an atheist and highly critical of the church, Derek Jarman was intrigued by the role religious and hagiographic narratives could play in his filmic indictments of Thatcher-era Britain. This is most notable in his film The Garden, which was shot on location in Dungeness.

– Gregory Spears

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Choral Score Set - 16 copies (Print)
Includes 8 copies of the soprano/alto part and 8 copies of the tenor/bass part.

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Score and part PDF files are delivered via email upon receipt. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase.

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A score PDF file is delivered via email upon receipt. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase. An email containing a link to download the electronic files is sent to the customer's email address.

Full Score/Performance Score (Digital)
The full score serves as a performance score for all players. A score PDF file is delivered via email upon receipt. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase. An email containing a link to download the electronic files is sent to the customer's email address.

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A print edition of the score and part(s) ship to the customer's address upon receipt. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase. The email containing a link to download the electronic files is sent to the customer.

Solo Instrument Score (Print)
A print edition of the score is shipped to the customer's address upon receipt. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase. An email containing a link to download the electronic files is sent to the customer's email address.

Full Score/Performance Score (Print)
The full score serves as a performance score for all players. Print edition(s) of the full score/performance score are shipped to the customer's address upon receipt. Multiple copies are included if the work has more than one player. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase.

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A PDF file of the choral score is delivered via email upon receipt. The set is priced to allow multiple copies of the PDF to be printed for performance by the purchasing organization only.

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SATB choral score (Digital)

Mezzo-soprano, 2 tenors, baritone score (Digital)


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