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artistic photo of the native plant garden with blurred trees

For Love and Only for Love: Letters to New York

December 19, 2020 – February 14, 2021

Ongoing 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. | At the Garden

NYBG partners with Make Music New York on their annual winter solstice festival with the world premiere of “For Love and Only for Love: Letters to New York,” an immersive choral installation by composer Pete Wyer. Explore the Native Plant Garden at your own pace and socially distanced, as prerecorded music – performed by choirs of up to 72 voices projected over 24 independent speakers – inspires reflection of love, gratitude, acceptance, and our connection with nature during the pandemic.

Open Letter to New York

Composer Pete Wyer talks about his new choral installation at NYBG.

About the Music

Discover five “letters;” each performed by choirs of up to 72 voices, played over 24 audio speakers carefully positioned along the Native Plant Garden’s Woodland Path. The music plays on a continuous loop and you may enter the pathway at any moment during the performance.

water feature in the native plant garden

For Love and Only for Love

The words of this work’s title are sung in English. Listen carefully. Deep within the choral texture you may also catch the word for “love” sung very softly in multiple languages including French, Spanish, German, Polish, Russian, Hindi, Marathi, Italian, and Chinese. Rising against a raging storm that thunders around the speakers, the chant of “for love and only for love” is one of defiance, leading us ultimately to a quieter place of peace and acceptance.

And only for now,
For love and only for love.

the meadow of the native plant garden in the winter

The Sky Beneath Our Feet

A message of thanks to the natural world and a moment of contemplation.

The words of this work’s title are repeated throughout by the singers in Finnish and Japanese:

Taivas jalkojemme alla.

私たちの足の下の空。

ducks in the native plant garden

How Beautiful You Are

In this work, the singers are vocalizing interpretations of animal courtship rituals and variations of the word “love” in many different languages.

branching of trees and grasses in the native plant garden

Mannaz

“Mannaz” comes from ancient Norse, it means both “man” and “divine harmony.” This work begins with 72 independent melodic lines that gradually merge into a single melody. Each vocal line is a transcription of birdsong, inspired by the theory that human speech is partly evolved from birdsong. The final chorus is sung in Finnish:

Syntynyt maasta, syntynyt auringosta, syntynyt taivaasta.

Born of the earth, born of the sun, born of the sky.

In the event of inclement weather, this program may be temporarily suspended.