Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Unremembered
Unremembered is 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). Four years in the making, the studio recording of Unremembered will release on New Amsterdam Records in September 2015, and features vocalists Padma Newsome (Clogs), DM Stith, and Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond), and the Unremembered Orchestra (includes members of ACME, Alarm Will Sound, ICE, The Knights, So Percussion), conducted by Edwin Outwater (Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, San Francisco Symphony.)
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.
Unremembered is the highly-anticipated follow-up album to Snider's widely-acclaimed 2010 song cycle Penelope, which was named the "year's most affecting creation" by Time Out New York (Top Classical Album of 2010) and praised in countless other publications, including Pitchfork ("No matter what perspective you bring to this album, it bears profound rewards"), the New York Times ("rapturous"), the Los Angeles Times ("haunting...piercing melancholy), and NPR, who named Penelope one of the 5 Best Genre-Defying Albums of 2010. Employing a broader instrumental and temperamental palette than she used for Penelope, Unremembered again demonstrates Snider’s mastery of both lyric and narrative line and the arsenal of tools she uses to layer, contrast, weave, and construct her ideas. It is work that explores restraint and tumult, the argument of the heart and the mind, vast atmospheric expansiveness, and the myriad territories of intimacy.
Produced by Lawson White and Sarah Kirkland Snider, Unremembered was mixed by Grammy Award-winning mixer Andrew Scheps and mastered by Grammy Award-winning mastering engineer Chris Bellman. Sound design was created by Michael Hammond, Lawson White, and Sarah Kirkland Snider. Both LP and CD formats include hand-drawn illustrations by Nathaniel Bellows and original artwork by DM Stith.
In the live performance of Unremembered, each movement is accompanied by video projections featuring Bellows's hand-drawn illustrations interleaved with photography and videography of the cycle's rural New England locations, offering a unique and immersive visual world to complement its varied sonic and emotional landscapes.