Program Notes:

Composer Gjeilo writes: “The lyrics for Tundra were written by Charles Anthony Silvestri, specifically for this work. I asked him to write a text based on the title, and some photos of a part of my native Norway that is very dear to me; the Hardangervidda mountain plateau. It’s pretty close to where my father grew up, a ski resort town called Gjeilo, in the mountains between Oslo and Bergen. The area is quite barren, and intensely beautiful. It is easy to feel that you are treading on sacred land, which Tony so wonderfully expresses in his text.”

Conductor Notes:

Tundra was commissioned by and dedicated to the ACDA Women’s R&S Commission Consortium, Debra Spurgeon, National Chair. Elektra performed it in its original form, SSAA with piano accompaniment. There is an alternate accompaniment of string quartet or string ensemble, but I wanted what I felt would be a lighter, more transparent sound of the piano. This is a sweeping, almost atmospheric work on a poem by Charles A. Silvestri. I moved singers around quite a bit to add body to the lines with text. Otherwise, they easily become buried by the accompanying vocalise lines and the poem is lost. I also had three voices on the solo soprano lines for the same reason, although I think a soloist could also speak above the choir in this tessitura.

Composer / Arranger Notes:

I always recommend performing Tundra with the optional string quartet (or string ensemble) parts, but the piece was written with only choir and pianio in mind at first, so the string are more of an extra bonus, if conditions allow for it. The little soprano solos scattered around the piece are meant more as colorings, an obbligato, than a melodic focal point.


This lists any discs, concerts or collections where this piece is included.



Wide, worn and weathered,

Sacred expanse

Of green and white and granite grey;

Snowy patches strewn,

Anchored to the craggy earth.


While clouds dance

Across the vast, eternal sky.