Four Gardens (2014)
An Outdoor Composition
twenty or more performers

Robert Morris

Program Notes

Four Gardens is a thirty-minute composition for singers and instrumentalists. It is the sixth of my pieces intended to be played out of doors, in a park or in the country, woods, highlands, and the like. It may be also played indoors

Four Gardens is written for an ensemble divided into four ensembles called North, East, South, and West. The ensembles are situated in the performance space in four roughly diamond-shaped areas. The North ensemble should be roughly to the north of the other. Each ensemble’s leader stands facing the center of the performance face where the conductor stands. The players should either face the ensemble leader or the conductor. The aisles between the four ensembles may be wide enough so the audience can sit within them; similarly the area for each ensemble can be large enough to accommodate audience members to sit within the ensemble. The audience can sit elsewhere and should feel free to quietly wander in and out of the performance space.

Locations such as in the woods, along hiking trails, in valleys and canyons, on the banks of rivers and lakes, in caves or canyons, and so on, provide optimum performance spaces for the piece. The aisles may have streams running along them. The players in an ensemble may be placed at different heights—on rock ledges and hills or within hollows, for instance.

The piece can be performed at night, with or without much light (the use of candles is encouraged), or at sunrise or sunset. It probably cannot be performed in cold climates and certainly not during rain, snow, or high winds.