Elements is set of choral works that abstractly depict the four classical elements and explores the wide range of capabilities of the human voice - from overtone singing, to vocal percussion, to colourful vocal timbres. Elements features no 'text' (at least not in the traditional sense), rather a series of syllables generated through improvisation meant to evoke the sound and energy of each element.
Earth is a beautiful, texturally-driven work depicting the simple yet unexplainable beauty of the earth. The work features harmonic overtone singing by a group of soloists; an accessible introduction to overtone singing in a choral setting.
Air traces the movement from calm breath to thick violent winds. Together singers gradually introduce new sounds and pitches, building an intricate texture with ever-shifting emphasis.
Fire is a fun, lively, and energetic work incorporating vocal percussion, body percussion, nasal singing, calls, nonsense syllables, as well as optional percussion.
Water presents powerful soaring textures and lilting melodies that grow and decay like waves in the ocean.
Elements was premiered in March 2014 by Laurier Singers under Lee Willingham. This set of works is a 2016 SOCAN Young Composers Competition winner, a 2015 Vancouver Chamber Choir' Young Composers' Competition winner, and a 2014 IAWM Search For New Music winner.
Elements (complete set): 12'30"
i) Earth: 5'30"
ii) Air: 1'30"
iii) Fire: 2'
iv) Water: 4'
Year of composition
2013 (rev. 2016)
1) SATB with divisi (opt. percussion for Fire)
NOTE: available as a full set or individual movements.
Earth, Air, and Fire are featured on the Hamilton Children's Choir's album As Above, So Below.
*Nominated for a 2021 Western Canadian Music Award in the category of Classical Composer of the Year.
The 2022 TMEA All-State Treble Choir's live recording of Fire is now available to stream: