The Swan



"The Swan" is an excerpted song from Unremembered, an hour-long, thirteen-part song cycle for seven voices, chamber orchestra, and electronics by composer Sarah Kirkland Snider, inspired by poems and illustrations by writer and visual artist Nathaniel Bellows (W.W. Norton, HarperCollins).

A meditation on memory, innocence, and the haunted grandeur of the natural world, Unremembered recalls strange and beautiful happenings experienced during a childhood in rural Massachusetts: a houseguest takes sudden leave in the middle of the night; a boy makes a shocking discovery on a riverbank; a girl disappears in woods behind a ranging farm; ghosts appear with messages for the living. Through Bellows’s moving words and images and Snider’s vivid, fraught, astonishing score, the cycle explores the ways in which beguiling events in early life can resonate in — and prepare us for — the subtler horrors that lie beyond the realm of childhood.

February 9, 2016

New York Music Daily

"...chilling, Lynchian...with its blend of shifting sheets of sound and eerily minimalist Satie-esque piano, ["The Swan" is] another vision of dread and death that’s bloodcurdling in its nonchalance."

January 4, 2016

Agit Reader

"In a year full of terrific chamber music by up-and-coming composers, 'Unremembered' stands out among its peers. Listeners will still be unpacking its mysteries well into the foreseeable future." (#4, Top Ten Albums of 2015)

Richard Sanford
April 24, 2015

Classical Voice of North Carolina

"Snider's style [in "The Swan"] is unapologetically bold and dark, utilizing every musical technique possible to create a precise soundscape – sometimes eerie, sometimes urgent and ominous."

Chelsea Huber
February 27, 2015

Opera News

In "The Swan" from Unremembered, Worden sang notes lower than proscribed for My Brightest Diamond. The faux-smoky tones from before gave way to a vulnerable, open, vibrato-less tone...this piece was the most rewarding vocal aspect of the evening...Worden and Snider are an artistic team to watch for.

Tristan Kraft
February 9, 2013

In "The Swan," Worden’s low, calm voice, harp ascending and falling back, began the song with a detached storyteller perspective. The music intensified, darkened and surged forward in dense close harmonies as Worden and company seemed to identify with the central figure. A dramatic leap in the vocal line as she described the animal splayed across the grass had a poignant effect."

Ronni Reich