Tunes on Tuesday: The Hill We Climb

Why this tune?

If you watched the Presidential inauguration last week, you probably heard Amanda Gorman reciting her poem “The Hill We Climb.” If you heard it then, it’s worth watching it again. It’s a beautiful work, meaningful and musical and brilliantly constructed.

I was looking for a way to spend more time with that poem and appreciate what makes it great. I decided to set part of the poem to music, as a tribute to Ms Gorman and her work and as an experiment in composition. I chose seven lines from the middle of the work:

This is the era of just redemption

We feared at its inception

We did not feel prepared to be the heirs

of such a terrifying hour

but within it we found the power

to author a new chapter

To offer hope and laughter to ourselves

Dig this detail!

The experiment is all about prosody, matching the melody and harmony to the words so they fit together and enhance each other. I think this short piece was successful in creating a musical context that supports the poet’s powerful words. I hope you enjoy it. Please let me know what you think!

Hear the story

Check it out!

Amanda Gorman recites her work at the Inauguration

My musical interpretation

Published by Oren Levine

Jazz pianist and composer in Washington, DC. Also a digital product and technology professional working at a small DC nonprofit

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