The title of the piece comes from a stanza in a Nathaniel Bellows poem I set in my song cycle, Unremembered: “The meadow lost its golden hue/ The trees let go their leaves/ The air grew colder, cleaner, blue/ Pale as centuries.” I loved the wintry image conjured here, and it inspired the ruminative, searching guitar chords that open the piece. I then heard a contrasting melodic fragment in piano, cheeky and spritely, and wondered how these two mismatched ideas might fit together. The rest of the piece is an attempt to do that: to reconcile their differences and discover the common ground between them. I decided to use the last line of the stanza as the title. I liked the mystery of the images as a simile, as potentially incongruent as the two main ideas of my piece.
New York Music Daily
"Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Pale As Centuries is the album’s most striking piece. Its wary guitar theme recedes for Terry Riley-ish upper-register circles, clarinet floating amid piano turbulence and eerie concentric circles just below: it wouldn’t be out of place in the Darcy James Argue catalog."
"...The music grew and fell in waves, the eclectic selection of instruments (flute, clarinet, electric guitar, piano and double bass) perfectly mingling, full of cycles and patterns that all slotted together beautifully. A minute or so after the piece began, I knew that I would love it – not because I could predict what would happen, but because I could tell that this piece fit within a category of modern music that I enjoy."
I Care If You Listen
"Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Pale as Centuries gets a lot of mileage out of the simple guitar figure that opens the work. [The piece] builds in intensity and drive as the full ensemble enters, expanding the opening figure and introducing new material all while moving from musical collage to a single, organic musical statement."