Since the release of his first two compositions, works by the young American Daniel Elder have won many prizes. Elder has set an erotic and sensuous text from the Song of Songs in this composition for four-part choir (without divisi). Although the metaphor of the uniqueness of the beloved like an apple tree between the trees in a forest has often been set, Elder succeeds in finding a completely individual, tender musical language for this text. The work is also easy for amateur choirs to sing: all the parts have cantabile lines in comfortable registers. This could become a very popular piece for church choirs to sing at weddings as well as in concerts. Elder creates a peaceful, intimate atmosphere, with vocal parts which are independent, singable and linear, frequently writing in passages with thirds or sixths. The setting is harmonic in style. However, the piece never descends into saccharine or kitsch, as there are brief flashes of dissonance, sparingly used unexpected alterations, and diminished chords.
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