"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.
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.
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."