List of Works || Lonesome Satellite

Lonesome Satellite (1985)

SSAATTBB, Divisi Chorus, Soprano (2), Alto (2), Tenor (2), Bass (2)

Duration: 6 minutes 15 second

First Performance: 12 April 1987, Toronto; Opera in Concert Chorus, Robert Cooper

Balancing more “earthly” choral works about birds, shopping, hockey, Lonesome Satellite evokes “a distant voice from outer space.” The work was first performed alongside four other choral works in Toronto in April 1987. In these choral works, Weinzweig seeks to correct a problem he perceived in much choral music: “Either the composer’s melodic setting is at odds with the phonetic content of the text or the singers are plagued by the ‘lazy lips’ syndrome.” To this end, the text of Lonesome Satellite includes only vocables and the phrase “all alone.”

The work cycles three times through three main textures: first, the eight-part choir creates a musical dialogue by alternating women’s and men’s voices; second, the choir sings all together, with a textless solo soprano above; third, the men sing slow, sombre statements of the phrase “all alone.” The sparse texture throughout effectively communicates imagery of a lonesome satellite orbiting the earth.

Written by Alexa Woloshyn