Deconstruct a chrysalis (Michael Winikoff)

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  • (Posted 2014-09-06)  CPDL #32867:     
Editor: Michael Winikoff (submitted 2014-09-06).   Score information: A4, 13 pages, 924 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes: Original composition uploaded by the composer. Permission is granted for this piece to be copied as needed and performed as desired. No royalties are required. I would appreciate being notified of performances, and, if possible, getting a recording (e.g. MP3 file) of performances. Thank you!

General Information

Title: Deconstruct a chrysalis
Composer: Michael Winikoff
Lyricist: Leanne Daharja Veitch

Number of voices: 7vv   Voicing: SAT.SATB
Genre: SecularUnknown

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 2008
Description: For SAT semi-chorus and SATB choir.

This piece is dedicated to Leanne,
without whom it wouldn’t exist.

American poet John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892) wrote in his poem Maud Muller: “For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: 'It might have been!'”, and these sentiments are echoed here. The first thing that struck me when reading Leanne's poem, apart from its vivid imagery, was the almost unspeakable sadness evoked by the poem, and especially the regret, the “what-if” of a butterfly that “might have flown”. The poem is about the futility of using reductionism in an attempt to understand life, and the universe. It also highlights the violent nature of taking things apart to see how they work: pulling apart the gossamer, pulling apart the skin, the eyes. In setting the poem I have tried to capture the violence (“pull apart”), the horror (“take a look”), and the unspeakable sadness (“of a shroud that [once1] might have flown”). The climax of the work is the second repetition of “nothing inside” (third last line, bars 83-88).

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

deconstruct a chrysalis
unravel the twisted thread
pull apart the gossamer

take a look
nothing inside
but a shrivelled corpse

no pulse, no beating heart
no wings, perhaps the tiniest hint
of a shroud that once might have flown

now the gift is gone

deconstruct the universe
unravel the twisted mind
pull apart the skin, the eyes

take a look
nothing inside
but a shrivelled heart
now pulled apart