for 6 Choirs (each Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass)

It is the position of the six choirs relative to the audience that gives Valleys its name. They are to be placed around and above the audience: the largest of them on stage and the five others arranged in a semicircle in the first balcony. The considerable separation of the choirs achieved by this placement both prompted and facilitates the composition’s extensive use of antiphonal and directional writing. The audience’s position on floor level, with the choirs above them, summoned to Freedman’s mind a picture of people in valleys looking up towards the tops of the surrounding hills on hearing the sound of Alpine horns—hence the title. Most of the text consists of the same invented language Freedman has used in other vocal works: “an abstraction of languages,” he says, “that consist largely of consonant and vowel, thus avoiding the diction problems that plague conventional settings of Western poetry.” 

Performed by: University Voices
Robert Sund, conductor