Sing to the Sun

Ashley Bryan, narrator; Ted Gurch, clarinet; Barbara Cook, oboe; Amy Leventhal, viola; Laura Gordy, piano; Peggy Benkeser, percussion; Spivey Hall Children’s Choir

Much of this piece—a setting of five poems by Ashley Bryan—is filled with lovely images and softly entwining solo instruments (oboe, clarinet, and viola). But the third poem, titled “The Hurricane,” introduces startling tension. Bryan’s previously child-like lines implore the wind to stop blowing so hard, and the end of the words and phrases rise to howling, desperate pitch over a children’s chorus imitating wind and rain. Though composed in 1995, Singleton’s music and Bryan’s words sound especially fresh today in the wake of events from ten years after the piece’s composition: Hurricane Katrina and the disaster of the Gulf Coast.

—DA