Here, he talks about "Le Saleve," one of our favorites and a true standout among vocal ensemble rep:
Both musically and poetically, Le Salève is a marked moment in time, wrought from and bound to memory, which breathes and behaves in a space specific to that
memory. And though the author, Jessica Rooney, was aware of my affinity with the concept of memory and my propensity for textural evolution and development when
writing the text, it was her narrative flow with which I became most invested. Or, most transformed, musically speaking. Her commingling of hyper-sibilance and
syllabic similarity with candid narrative imagery found an instant musical counterpart—such to the effect that I remember thinking “Wow, the piece is writing itself!”—and the combination of these disparities has ever since affected my output.
The music is, naturally, a direct reflection of the text. The opening “shhh” becomes a recurring element, and dovetails into the following string of s-words. Sung at different speeds, the individual words become lost in sibilance and blossom into a textural cloud, in turn becoming a backdrop against which harmonious chords emerge, as if conjuring or extracting memories from the cloud.
The nature of these chords is bittersweetness. Though direct and familiar-sounding—and to a degree, a play on the nature of some a capella and barbershop arrangements—there is an element of disquiet as the chords ceaselessly seek rest and closure. Whether falling in tumbles or rising in stretches, the chords often become disassembled in conjunction with the narrative, until, re-composed at the end, they descend exposed and unresolved.