List of Works || To the Lands Over Yonder

To the Lands Over Yonder (1945)

Choir, SATB, Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass

Duration: 5 minutes

First Performance: 13 February 1946, Toronto; CBC broadcast, CBC Chorus/ Geoffrey Waddington

Weinzweig composed his first choral composition, To the Lands Over Yonder, while serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force at Rockcliffe Station. The work is based on the melody and translated text of a Copper Inuit dance-song, a song included in a collection of Inuit songs entitled Eskimo Songs (1923), which had been collected during the Canadian Arctic Expedition (1913-18).

Much of the work contains unison or octave doublings, resulting in a simple texture that Weinzweig describes as “primitive” and “unpretentious.” The first half of the song largely focuses on a dialogue between two main groupings: male voices and female voices. The texture becomes more complex near the end as all voices repeat “to the lands over yonder” and even break into a brief passage of four-part harmony. While the work does not deviate from the mode of the original tune, the varied choral textures and text repetitions result in an original composition rather than a simple arrangement.

Written by Alexa Woloshyn