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  • Writer's pictureMitchell Covington

There is a solitude of space

In this season of social distancing, I'm offering a series of virtual micro-concerts for anyone to enjoy. Every Wednesday, I’ll post one fine performance of notable music for women’s voices. The selections and performing groups will be varied and eclectic. Most will be in the 3-5 minute range. Each post will include an audio recording, brief notes, text & translation and, when practical, a PDF copy of the score in case you want to follow along.


Listen to this week's music and see the score in the Listening Room.


About the Composer

Alice Parker (born 1925) is an internationally renowned American composer, arranger, conductor, and pedagogue. She has composed five operas, eleven song-cycles, thirty-three cantatas, eleven works for chorus and orchestra, forty-seven choral suites, and more than forty original hymns. In addition to these compositions, Parker has written a wealth of arrangements based on pre-existing folk-songs and hymns, many of which were produced in cooperation with Robert Shaw. Alice Parker is probably best known for her arrangements of spirituals, mountain hymns, and folk songs, early American hymns, and international folk-songs

About the Composition

“There is a solitude in space” is the first of a three-movement work entitled Three Seas.

1. There is a solitude of space (SAA with piano OR 2 flutes, harp, and bassoon)

2. As if the Sea should part (SSA with piano OR harp and bassoon)

3. A soft Sea washed around the House (SA with piano OR flute, harp and bassoon)

The work is scored for SSA with piano accompaniment, or flute, harp and bassoon.

In this movement, Parker creates the feeling of space and solitude that reflects this text through musical texture, open and dissonant harmonies, choral unisons expanding to long chords and wide spacing of harmonies.

About this Performance

This live performance was recorded by Voci Women’s Vocal Ensemble (Oakland/Berkeley, CA) in 2003. Find out more about Voci here.

The Text

There is a solitude of space

Emily Dickenson (1695)

There is a solitude of space A solitude of sea A solitude of death, but these Society shall be Compared with that profounder site That polar privacy A soul admitted to itself— Finite infinity.

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Mitchell Covington is an award-winning composer and conductor who lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a frequent adjudicator for choir competitions and festivals and workshop clinician. He has led choir tours and festivals throughout Europe. Mr. Covington has several choral compositions in print with major U.S publishers and his music has been performed by choirs throughout the U.S and Europe. Mr. Covington is the Founding and current Artistic Director of Voci Women's Vocal Ensemble.

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