Sifting Through the Ruins

Song Collection

Sifting Through the Ruins is a song cycle by Libby Larsen setting the texts of Hilary North, Alicia Vasquez, Martha Cooper, Ted Berrigan, and an anonymous writer. The texts were chosen by Susanne Mentzer. The song cycle is for voice, viola, and piano.

Date: 2005Composer: Libby LarsenText: Anonymous

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Composer's Notes

Sifting Through the Ruins is a set of five songs composed in memory of the human lives changed forever by the bombing of the World Trade Center in September 2001. Susanne Mentzer, James Dunham, Craig Rutenberg, and I give these songs to you with a wish to honor the profound love of life, so gentle, but at present ferociously and blindingly evident in every second of our lives.

“Susanne privately collected a number of texts which she discovered on her personal journey towards understanding the events of September 11th. We chose the words we present today as a way of bringing out essential emotions. The truths are stark. The words are startling simple, innocent, direct, and bereft of contrivance. In short, they are authentic. They are the only logical response of human beings to the utter shock of sudden death. That there are words at all astounds me. These are the hardest words with which I have ever partnered as a composer. But we four artists trust that our work together can in some small way articulate their weight by letting the words speak for themselves, born up by the music we make.”

–Libby Larsen’s Official Website


I. A Listing | Text: Hilary North
II. To the Towers Themselves | Text: Anonymous
III. Don’t look for me anymore | Text: Alicia Vasquez
IV. Untitled | Text: Martha Cooper
V. Someone Passes | Text: Ted Berrigan

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