Paul Des Marais: Search

Publisher | a cappella,choral music,composers,death and mortality,famous poets,mixed | Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

paul desmarais

Search, three movements for unaccompanied SATB chorus, was composed by Paul Des Marais in 2002. It’s a beautiful and reflective work set to poetry by W.S. Merwin, Theodore Roethke and Mark Doty, revolving around the journey of mortality. The composer describes this journey as being…

…full of feeling: full of fear, full of anger, full of sadness, and – sometimes – resolved by a quiet acceptance of the inevitable.

The movements are 1. the birds on the morning of going (with words by W. S. Merwin), 2. The Waking (with words by Theodore Roethke), and 3. The Retrieve (dream fragment), with words by Mark Doty. Click on the links to view partial score as downloadable PDFs.

Regarding the last movement, Des Marais writes the following:

In the poem by Mark Doty, revolving around the last days of his partner, the feeling of refusal is very powerfully described. Wally, Doty’s partner, hears madrigal-like, beautiful voices inviting him to come, to dance with them. And his reply: “I’m not ready yet; I’m not ready yet.” But it was a dream, and he did go.

Search was first performed by the Los Angeles Chamber Singers under the direction of Peter Rutenberg on June 9, 2002.

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