Sara Kirkland Snider ~ Composer of Music

Chamber Ensemble

You Are Free

(2015) Duration: 6:15

for fl, cl, marimba, pno, vln, cello

Commissioned by: Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble

World Premiere: February 13, 2016, by Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble, Mason First United Methodist Church, Mason, MI.


“…darkly ravishing…”

The Boston Musical Intelligencer, May 10, 2016

Program Note:

In 2015, with a project called “Music In Their Words,” Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble commissioned nine composers to create works that featured the speaking voice of a 20th Century composer whose music had had a significant impact on their own. I chose Arvo Pärt. The field recording of Pärt’s voice that I chose to sample comes from a video interview he gave to Icelandic experimental pop star Björk in the late ‘90s. During their conversation, he says “You can kill people with sound. And if you can kill, then maybe there is also the sound that is opposite of killing. And the distance between these two points is very big. And you are free ― you can choose. In art everything is possible, but everything is not necessary.” As I listened to their conversation, I imagined a simple F major triad undulating in marimba, piano, and clarinet. From there, thinking about the meaning of both freedom and necessity in art, I tried to do something I don’t often do: let the piece unfold, free of agenda or judgment. The first performance direction is “somewhere between plaintive, tender, and anxious.”
You Are Free can be performed with or without the field recording.

One Response to “You Are Free”

  1. Hello Sarah,

    I direct a new music ensemble in the Baltimore/DC area ( and I’m looking for repertoire ideas for next season. I’m interested in your piece, You are free. Would there be a recording I could hear, or a score I could peruse?
    Thanks! Hope to hear from you.
    Rob Baker

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