Services of Snow is a song cycle which uses four poems by the American poet Emily Dickinson as its departure point. The first text floats quietly over a dreamy accompaniment which alternates between major and minor until the singer eventually spills out into her upper range at the mention of a “brighter garden.” In “Denial,” the music is jittery and lurching as the poetry talks about a human being's will as a “numb significance.” The third movement lays Dickinson's text over a piano ostinato reminiscent of a Ben Folds song and here she is pissed off and defiant; an embattled martyr striking out at the thing which holds her back. After all this consternation comes the eponymous final movement. The text is delicate and the music responds by providing a gentle cloud of harmony for it to glide over like water slowly sliding over ice.
This song cycle was commissioned by (and is dedicated to) soprano Jessica Hardy.