River – Unterseher

SATB div.

Mystical, flowing contemplation of life and afterlife.

I Cantori, Walla Walla University, conducted by Dr. Kraig Scott

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This piece follows the tradition of hymns and spirituals such as “Shall We Gather At The River, “ “Deep River,” and “When Peace, Like a River.” The river of your life gathers streams of memory and experience as it flows. People and ideas from your past and your present all exist together in your conscious and unconscious mind. The music for “River” grows from a contemplative dream state, that place where dreaming and wakefulness exist together. The underlying gentle wave patterns and ripples of sound come from that feeling of floating, completely carried and supported by the river, but always in motion. In rhythmic and harmonic structure, it is the calm, deep river that runs through the valley, the mature river that has already passed the rapids and turbulence of its beginnings.

~Reginald Unterseher

Rivers have always been meeting places. They are a symbol of something both permanent and ever changing. The dream imagery in these lyrics is the outline of journey where even the solid ground of a meadow dances.

~Sheila Dunlop


Just below senses
the river flows

We know it in dreams
wake to fading memory
with fresh tears

The river
the home of dreams
where all those we love

The meadow
of sentient immortal flowers
Colors impossible
Beings both here and gone
Air infused with wisdom

The river flows
bringing us home

–S. K. Dunlop

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About Reginald Unterseher

Reginald Unterseher is Music Director and Composer-in-Residence at Shalom United Church of Christ, Richland, Washington. His works are published by Oxford University Press, Walton Music, and through NW Choral Publishing at www.reginaldunterseher.com. He is the Washington State Music Teacher’s Association’s “Composer of the Year” for 2013. Mr. Unterseher’s compositions are regularly performed throughout the world and have been featured at ACDA and MENC conventions in the US as well as at Carnegie Hall in New York City. He currently serves as Repertoire & Standards Chair for Men’s Choirs for the Northwest Division of the American Choral Director’s Association, and is in demand as a choral and vocal adjudicator and clinician. Mr. Untereseher is a past Artistic Director of Consort Columbia (now Mid-Columbia Mastersingers), founder and past Chorus Master of Washington East Opera, and an active member of Male Ensemble Northwest.