Vineta

for mixed choir and percussion

Obbligato percussion instruments are also an important presence in Vineta, written in 2009 for the Bavarian Radio Choir. An evocative sound-picture of a legendary sunken city in the Baltic Sea, Vineta sets words by the 19th-century German Wilhelm Müller (specifically requested by the commissioner) but are here sung in an English translation by Thomas C. Zimmermann. Initially rooted on a pedal E, from which it repeatedly emerges and recedes again (perhaps as the hidden city comes in out of a watery focus) and accompanied by muffled church bells, this is another example of the composer’s unerring instinct for atmosphere and mystery; there are stormier episodes, too, but most telling are the moments of complete stasis — meditations on the tale we are hearing, perhaps — where a hushed susurration of triangles, bowed vibraphone, and the second time, a mysterious chiming over a drone of overtone impart an aqueous otherworldliness to this strange tale.

— from notes by Gabriel Jackson © 2013

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Year
2009
Commissioner
Bavarian Radio Choir
Instrumentation
Choir (SSAAATTTBBB), percussion (Vib., C-lli, C-ne, G.C., P-tto sosp.)
Lyrics
Wilhelm Müller (1794–1827), English translation by Thomas C. Zimmermann (1838–1914)
Language
English or German
Duration
11 min
Score
ISMN
979-0-706646-56-5
Recordings
State Choir LatvijaAt the Foot of the Sky