Among All Creatures

for Baritone or Soprano and Harp

While reading Scott Russell Sanders' book, A Conservationist Manifesto, I came upon a poem so beautiful, so musical, I immediately knew I wanted to set it to music. Not long after, I was contacted by baritone Daniel Neer; he wanted to commission me to write a piece for him and harpist Alyssa Reit to perform on their upcoming multimedia recital, "Narkissos." I showed him the poem, and we agreed that it would be perfect for the occasion. "Among All Creatures" was premiered by Daniel Neer and Alyssa Reit at The TANK in New York City on April 29, 2012. By the end of that same year, the piece went into print, from Fatrock Ink.


Amanda Russo, mezzo-soprano
Yi-Yun Loei, harp


Among all creatures, we are the only kind
that frets, the only kind that asks forgiveness,
or needs to. Meanwhile, crows palaver
in the pines, crickets sing in the high grass,
cottonwoods wag their leaves in every least wind.

Having held our tongues to listen, having fallen asleep
to the barred owl's call and wakened to fog over the Mad
River, having seen the pond shiver like the taut hide
hide of a horse and the dew ignite with dawn, freed now to break
silence, we might find words to speak our love of Earth.

from A Conservationist Manifesto by Scott Russell Sanders,
Indiana University Press. Copyright 2009 Scott Russell Sanders.
Printed with kind permission of the author.