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Suite Remembrance (2018)

for SATB choir | 00:08:30

by Melissa Dunphy

A set of four contrasting "memorial dances" for unaccompanied mixed choir commissioned by the Saint Louis Chamber Chorus. Movements range from energetic to lyrical and moving, and each takes after a dance form: saltarello, gavotte, sarabande, and gigue. SATB a cappella; fourth movement is double SATB. Publication pending by EC Schirmer.

[Dunphy's] set of four short pieces entitled Remembrance explores the relationship between dance and song. The first two settings are contrasting pieces in lively dance rhythms. There follows a haunting setting of Emily Dickinson’s ‘If I can stop one heart from breaking’. This slow and expressive piece takes the suite off in a different direction. For the final piece, Melissa Dunphy’s choice of words from Psalm 30 (‘Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing’) is adroit; the words bridge nicely from the introspection of Dickinson back to extrovert dancing for the last movement of this attractive Suite. [MusicWeb International]

I. Todtentanz
Ye mortals, up! your glass is out,
Both high and low; for do not doubt,
But tyrant kings, at my command,
Shall take a beggar by the hand.
I'll tune my pipe, as they advance,
And make them partners in a dance.
—Nathaniel Schlott (1701)
translated by an unknown woman

II. All Flesh is Grass
All flesh is grass,
and all the goodliness thereof
is as the flower of the field:
the grass withers, the flower fades:
because the spirit blows upon it:
surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades:
but the word shall stand for ever.
—Isaiah 40:7-8

III. If I Can Stop One Heart from Breaking
If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.
—Emily Dickinson (ca. 1862)

IV. Mourning into Dancing
Sing unto the Lord!
Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing:
thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;
weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
I cried unto thee, and thou has healed me.
O Lord, I will give thanks unto thee forever.
—Adapted from Psalm 30


  • 30 Jul, 2021: Hesperos at Westminster Abbey, London, UK
  • 03 Jul, 2021: Hesperos Choir at St Paul's Church, London, England
  • 13 Jun, 2021: First Inversion at Downtown United Presbyterian Church, Rochester, NY
  • 03 May, 2020: Kantorei at The Saint Paul Seminary, Saint Paul, MN
  • 02 May, 2020: Kantorei at Gethsemane Lutheran Church, Hopkins, MN
  • 27 Oct, 2019: Richmond Concert Chorale at Saint Benedict Catholic Child, Richmond, VA
  • 27 Oct, 2019: Kantorei at The Church of Christ the King, Minneapolis, MN
  • 26 Oct, 2019: Richmond Concert Chorale at All Saints Episcopal Church, Henrico, VA
  • 05 Oct, 2018: McNeese Chamber Singers at McNeese State University, Lake Charles, LA
  • 27 May, 2018: Saint Louis Chamber Chorus at First Presbyterian Church of Kirkwood, St. Louis, MO