Freed From Words

Freed From Words (1995) is an a cappella choral work without text. Instead, the chorus is treated as a very specialized “orchestra”, which is used to produce music full of driving rhythmic energy. While not entirely “new” (jazz scat singing often uses similar gestures), using a chorus this way is somewhat unusual. All of the individual sounds are carefully notated, and the piece creates its own language. The music is orga¬≠nized in a rondo form (ABACABA). That is, the music of the first section («A») comes back several times throughout the piece; the music of the second section («B») appears once near the beginning and once near the end, and so on. The strict form provides an underlying framework for the piece, much like the skeleton of a building. Hanging on that form is a kaleidoscope of texture, mood, color in both sung and spoken sounds.