Within the Circles of Our Lives

From Wind Repertory Project
Libby Larsen

Libby Larsen (arr. Paul Gerike)

This article is a stub. If you can help add information to it,
please join the WRP and visit the FAQ (left sidebar) for information.

Subtitle: For Soprano and Baritone Soli and Wind Ensemble

From Missa Gaia: Mass for the Earth

General Info

Year: 1999 / 2006
Duration: c. 4:45
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Choir and piano
Publisher: ECS Publishing
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $55.15   |   Score Only (print) - $25.00


(Needed - please join the WRP if you can help.)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Missa Gaia: Mass for the Earth is a creed for our times. The form and spirit of the traditional Mass combines with words that speak of human beings' relationship to the Earth. The texts are drawn from the Bible, from Native American poets Joy Harjo and Maurice Kenny, from medieval mystic Meister Eckhart, from the Chinook Psalter and from poets M.K. Dean, Wendell Berry and Gerard Manley Hopkins. The theme of circles permeates the entire work. The music uses the circle of fifths both as a melodic theme and as an instrumental motive. Although I have not asked the oboe to do so in this work, the oboist is one of the few instrumentalists who can breathe circularly. The string quartet traditionally sits in a semi-circle. The image of the circle is central to many of the texts of this work.

The United States of America is not an old country. Most of us are really still pioneers. We are only now learning what it is to live on this land and conversely, what it is for the land to let us live here. Amidst the natural abundance of our country, I live with the blizzards and tornadoes of the Midwest. And I see the earthquakes of the West Coast, the hurricanes of the South and East Coast, and the arid lands of the Southwest. I am reminded again and again that the human notion of dominion over nature is only that, a notion.

The truth is that the Earth lets us live with it. Native American Maurice Kenny's poem They tell me I am lost is a profound expression of unity and community. The poem, combined texts are drawn from the Bible and from medieval mystic Meister Eckhart, is a credo for those of us who wish to take care of the planet.

- Program Note by composer

Song (4) from The wheel, poem by Wendell Berry.

- Program Note from score


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • St. Cloud (Minn.) State University Wind Ensemble (Stephen W. Pratt. Conductor; Marcie Hagem Givens, soprano; J. Hugh Givens, bass) – 8 March 2007 (American Bandmasters Association conference, San Luis Obispo, Calif.) *Premiere Performance*

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Larsen, L.; Berry, W.; Gerike, P. (1999). Within the Circles of Our Lives: For Soprano and Baritone Soli and Wind Ensemble [score]. ECS Pub.: Boston, Mass.
  • Libby Larsen website Accessed 16 September 2023
  • Perusal score