The Answer (2016)


Text by Robert Creeley

Total duration ca. 6'30"

Single movement work

Premiered in June 2015

in Baltimore, MD

by Joshua Glassman and the Mt. Vernon Consort

Listen to an excerpt of this work on Soundcloud

Audio clip performed by The Princeton Singers as part of the 2016 Lehigh University-ACDA Summer Choral Composers Forum under the direction of Steven Sametz


Purchase this score from

Peter Dayton Music (ASCAP) for: $1.00 per copy

Creeley's The Answer is a lament. The poem presents in the form of a question a longing for an openness, clarity, and gentleness, a world of communication as soft as the wind bending the grass. Whether the "we" of the poem is two people or a larger "we," the question's answer abruptly replaces the image of wind-bent grass with walls against which we break ourselves "just to hear it." It is a mourning of the distance we put between each other, seemingly with a perverse intentionality. The text setting builds up from a tentative and naive opening to a wall of sound against which the musical gestures break and crumbling into the poem's sad conclusion.


The Collected Poems of Robert Creeley, 1945-1975, by Robert Creeley, © 2006 by the Regents of the University of California. Published by the University of California Press