The Loam

SATB | Duration c. 3'15"

Featured in Starlight: An Anthology of Works for Mixed Chorus

Hewitt Hill Music

The Loam was commissioned by Austin Cantorum, conducted by Cristian Cantu, and is dedicated to Rick McKnight. The work is based on the poem Loam by Carl Sandburg, which speaks of a type of soil of the same name. This soil, composed of equal parts sand, clay and silt, is known for being especially fertile given its porous structure. Because of the porous nature of loam, there are intentionally long breaks in the vocal lines within this piece, creating a texture that allows the music to breathe naturally between voice parts. The texture is underpinned by a repeated ostinato in the bass, representing the solidity of the ground itself and the Earth which provides the basis for all growing life.


In the loam we sleep,
In the cool moist loam,
To the lull of years that pass
And the break of stars,

From the loam, then,
The soft warm loam,
         We rise:
To shape of rose leaf,
Of face and shoulder.

         We stand, then,
         To a whiff of life,
Lifted to the silver of the sun
Over and out of the loam
         A day.

The Loam
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