“Atomic Soldiers” sets the words of soldiers who were subjected to tests of nuclear weapon explosions in battleground situations, excerpted with the kind permission of the New York Times and Morgan Knibbe, filmmaker, from the documentary “The Atomic Soldiers” released in 2019. These soldiers were prevented from speaking about their experiences until the 1990’s, and could have been charged with treason for doing so before that. Musically, it revisits the opening descending figure of the Prologue, and this time it takes the form of a chaconne. The soldiers’ parts, rather than being given to an individual voice, are taken by sections of the chorus. In their interviews, the soldiers tell the stories one at a time, in a linear fashion, but when sung by the chorus, the lines can be re-constructed and layered upon each other as well.
Premiere performance, recorded inside the B Reactor.
The choral version of this piece from the song cycle for tenor, chorus, and piano. Heart-pounding, intense. “It is a condition of wisdom in the archer to be patient because when the arrow leaves the bow, it returns no more.” Sa’di
Mezzo and Baritone soloists, SATB Chorus, chamber orchestra
Nuclear Dreams: an Oral History of the Hanford Site is a concert-length work exploring the stories and night dreams of those who lived or worked on the land that became the site of the B Reactor, the first full production plutonium reactor in history, part of the Manhattan Project. Plutonium from the B Reactor was used for the Trinity test explosion and the bomb dropped on Nagasaki.