SATB choir. 4 mins.
Selection from Sauntering Songs: a concert-length cantata on the theme of walking, commissioned by Skylark Vocal Ensemble.
Performance score available for purchase. Please direct inquiries to Nell Shaw Cohen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NEW! Seeking repertoire for your choir or vocal ensemble? Check out my programming guide for choral directors.
“One Walks the Flesh Transparent” is a choral selection from Sauntering Songs: a concert-length cantata on the theme of walking, commissioned by Skylark Vocal Ensemble. The text for this piece comes from Nan Shepherd’s “The Living Mountain: A Celebration of the Cairngorm Mountains of Scotland,” written in the 1940s and later published in the ’70s. This memoir is a landmark work of nature writing—a philosophical meditation on the author’s journeys into the Scottish wilderness—and one of my personal favorite books.
“Walking thus, hour after hour, the senses keyed, one walks the flesh transparent. But no metaphor, transparent, or light as air, is adequate. The body is not made negligible, but paramount. Flesh is not annihilated but fulfilled. One is not bodiless, but essential body. It is therefore when the body is keyed to its highest potential and controlled to a profound harmony deepening into something that resembles trance, that I discover most nearly what it is to be. I have walked out of the body and into the mountain. I am a manifestation of its total life.”
© Nan Shepherd, 1977. Extract from “The Living Mountain: A Celebration of the Cairngorm Mountains of Scotland” reproduced on behalf of Canongate Books Ltd.
Visit the Sauntering Songs page for performance history.