2012 – for SATB Chorus (6:00)




The Vocal Essence Ensemble Singers; Philip Brunelle, conductor


This work is inspired by (and indebted to) the stunning poetry of Rilke, the marriage of the lyric and cerebral in Brahms motets, and the a cappella choral writing of Franco-Flemish masters like Ockeghem and Josquin. The present edition was prepared for Philip Brunelle and the Vocal Essence Ensemble Singers’ Essentially Choral readings (April 4-6, 2013). On the strength of that performance, Vocal Essence commissioned “My River Runs to Thee” for its 2014-15 season.


Die Blätter fallen, fallen wie von weit,
als welkten in den Himmeln ferne Gärten;
sie fallen mit verneinender Gebärde.

Und in den Nächten fällt die schwere Erde
aus allen Sternen in die Einsamkeit.

Wir alle fallen. Diese Hand da fällt.
Und sieh dir andre an: es ist in allen.

Und doch ist Einer, welcher dieses Fallen
Unendlich sanft in seinen Händen halt.

(Rainer Maria Rilke)

The leaves are falling, falling as from far,
as if wilting in the heavens’ distant gardens;
they fall with a gesture of negation.

And in the nights the heavy Earth falls
from the stars in solitude.

We all are falling. This hand here falls.
And look around: it is in everything.

And yet there is One, who holds this falling
eternally tenderly in His hands.

(translation by the composer)


April 2013
Sundin Music Hall, Saint Paul, Minnesota
Vocal Essence Ensemble Singers; Philip Brunelle, conductor


Selected for the 2013 American Composers’ Forum Essentially Choral readings

Finalist in the 2016 18th St. Singers Competition, including performance in Washington DC’s historic 6th & I Synagogue

Copyright 2013-22 by Michael Schachter. michael.schachter [at] gmail.com