The Tree

For unaccompanied mixed choir

Duration: 3 minutes

Now Available on The Esoterics' "Sylvana" CD

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Text · Performance History · Purchase Sheet Music

Greg Bartholomew weaves meaning into the poetry with every word he sets.
    — Jack Senzig: Greg Bartholomew ChoralNet CCMC Composer of the Month, April 2012
Lovely. Sensitive to text and the potentials it provides in terms of color, textural weight and subtle rhythmic variety. Harmonically gracious, without being obvious. Technically embraceable, without being ordinary. Elegantly crafted.
    — American Prize Adjudicator David Katz

Dedicated to Richard Hutter, The Tree is a setting for unaccompanied SATB mixed choir of the poem by American transcendental poet Jones Very (1813 - 1880). The full text is below. Composed at the 2003 Oxford Summer Institutes at Lehigh, where it received a reading by the Princeton Singers under the direction of Steven Sametz. Premiered April 2, 2004, by the American University Chamber Singers under the direction of Daniel E. Abraham.

Since its 2004 premiere The Tree has had more than 36 performances in Washington, DC, Pennsylvania, New York, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas, California, Oregon, Washington State, Canada and Australia.

In July 2010, an international panel of judges named The Tree as a finalist for the Seghizzi International Choral Festival held in Gorizia, Italy. In March 2012, The Tree was named a Silver Platter Repertoire Award Winner by the editor of the ChoralNet Composition Showcase.

The Tree

Jones Very (1813 - 1880)

I love thee when thy swelling buds appear,
And one by one their tender leaves unfold,
As if they knew that warmer suns were near,
Nor longer sought to hide from winter's cold;

And when with darker growth thy leaves are seen
To veil from view the early robin's nest,
I love to lie beneath thy waving screen,
With limbs by summer's heat and toil oppress'd;

And when the autumn winds have stript thee bare,
And round thee lies the smooth, untrodden snow,
When naught is thine that made thee once so fair,
I love to watch thy shadowy form below,
And through thy leafless arms to look above
On stars that brighter beam when most we need their love.

Purchase Sheet Music

Sheet music for The Tree is available from J. W. Pepper.

Performance History

Premiered April 2, 2004, by the American University Chamber Singers, Daniel Abraham conducting, Greengerg Theater, Washington, DC

April 3, 2004, American University Chamber Singers, Washington, DC
October 4, 2004, American University Chamber Singers, Washington, DC
October 7, 2004, American University Chamber Singers, Christ Church Deer Park, Toronto
October 7, 2004, American University Chamber Singers, Eaton Center, Toronto
October 8, 2004, American University Chamber Singers, Metropolitan United Church, Toronto
October 8, 2004, American University Chamber Singers, Malvern Collegiate Institute, Toronto
October 9, 2004, American University Chamber Singers, Stratford, Ontario
October 9, 2004, American University Chamber Singers, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
October 10, 2004, American University Chamber Singers, Buffalo, NY
October 10, 2004, American University Chamber Singers, Fredonia, NY
October 11, 2004, American University Chamber Singers, Pittsburg, PA
October 12, 2004, American University Chamber Singers, Harrisburg, PA
October 12, 2004, American University Chamber Singers, Shippensburg, PA
May 14, 2005, Coriolis, Gregg Skalinder conducting, Evanston, Illinois
May 15, 2005, Coriolis, Chicago
February 15, 2006, Pleasure for the Ear Choir, Nancy Kern conducting, Seattle
March 26, 2006, Acappellago, Dennis Smith conducting, Oak Brook, Illinois
March 27, 2006, Acappellago, Naperville, Illinois
April 17, 2006, Octarium, Krista Lang Blackwood conducting, Lawrence, Kansas
April 20, 2006, Octarium, Kansas City, Missouri
April 25, 2006, Octarium, Overland Park, Kansas
March 24, 2007, Crescendo, Hugh McDevitt conducting, Los Altos, California
May 11, 2007, Oratorio Society of Minnesota, Laura Leonberger conducting, Columbia Heights, Minnesota
May 12, 2007, Oratorio Society of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota
April 26, 2008, Claremont Chamber Choir, Charles Kamm conducting, Claremont, California
April 27, 2008, Claremont Chamber Choir, Claremont, California
May 9, 2008, Claremont Chamber Choir, Claremont, California
October 24, 2008, Portland Vocal Consort, Ryan Heller conducting, Portland, Oregon
October 25, 2008, Portland Vocal Consort, Longview, Washington
June 14, 2009, The Tudor Choristers, Andrew Blackburn conducting, Melbourne, Australia
May 25, 2013, Convivium, Eric Tuan conducting, Los Altos, California
May 26, 2013, Convivium, Eric Tuan conducting, San Jose, California
October 10, 2013, Northeastern State University Singers, Jeff Wall conducting, Tahlequah, Oklahoma
May 3, 2014, The Esoterics, Eric Banks conducting, at Lincoln Performance Hall in Portland, Oregon
May 9, 2014, The Esoterics, Eric Banks conducting, at St Stephen's Episcopal Church, Seattle
May 10, 2014, The Esoterics, Eric Banks conducting, at Grace Episcopal Church, Bainbridge Island
May 11, 2014, The Esoterics, Eric Banks conducting, at Holy Rosary Catholic Church, West Seattle
August 5, 2016, the Vocal Faculty of the Midsummer Music Retreat, under J. Scott Kovacs, at Chism Hall, Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington.