Remembering for Atonement

for SATB chorus and orchestra

Watch the video — 5 November 2016 premiere
by the Golden Gate Symphony Orchestra and Chorus (with subtitles)

View/download orchestra score PDF

View/download vocal score PDF

Knowing that Remembering for Atonement would be the first piece on a concert commemorating the sent-down youth of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, the poet and composer took their inspiration from lyrics by Wei Sun to craft a work that would stand both as a prelude and a complement to the cantata Ask the Sky and the Earth, the main piece on the program. Although our work is thus a tribute to the protagonists of the cantata, it is also a broader reflection on the costs and achievements of cultural revolution in other cultures that the composer and poet had experienced more directly. Another challenge was the fact that our piece would form a sort of choral prelude to Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony, which immediately followed on the program: a few of Beethoven’s musical ideas were “borrowed,” the music thus being designed to lead into the Symphony and tie it into the concert.

Remembering for Atonement — poem by Viktoriya Neverov-Krstic

We till the land, but we remember
The visions are too strong, too deep
And in the glow of burning ember
We see the past that haunts our sleep

That teacher, priest, that politician 
The look of fear, their jaded eyes
We thought the goal was their submission
They had deserved their woeful cries

But we were young, we’ve ripened, grown
The way the fruit has on these trees
We’ve learned we reap all that we’ve sown
We don’t resist the memories

It’s how we choose to go from here
Our darkened, gloomy, mutual past
We’ll grow these crops and shed the tears
So you won’t hunger and we might last

So we might build a brighter world
Learning from our shared heartbreaks
Where dreams are kind and progress swirls
And we’ve atoned for our mistakes

Copyright 2016 Viktoriya Neverov-Krstic