Christopher Tin's 'The Drop That Contained the Sea' on Top Score

by Emily Reese
July 17, 2014

Listen Top Score: Christopher Tin, 'The Drop that Contained the Sea'
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Christopher Tin is a two-time Grammy-winning composer. (provided photo)
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This is a bit of a diversion for Top Score, covering music that isn't in a video game. But Christopher Tin has a healthy following amongst video game music fans, largely for the theme he wrote for Sid Meier's 2005 game Civilization IV.

There are a couple of significant things about this piece of music. "Baba Yetu" became the first piece of music from a video game nominated for a Grammy Award, which Tin won.

Secondly, "Baba Yetu" is part of a larger work, a song cycle by Tin, called Calling All Dawns, for which Tin won another Grammy.

Tin knew while he was writing Calling All Dawns that he wanted to create another song cycle, based on a water theme.

The result is The Drop That Contained the Sea, a cycle of 10 songs that share common elements. These elements include thematic material and text-painting (using instruments to create sounds that enhance what a singer sings, like a fast flute symbolizing blowing wind, etc.).

Like Calling All Dawns, an all-star cast of performers joins Tin. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra plays, singers Dulce Pontes and Anonymous 4 return, as does the Soweto Gospel Choir you hear in "Baba Yetu".

If you'd like to learn more about Christopher Tin, I highly recommend you listen to our past conversation on Top Score, also linked to the right of this article. You can get caught up on past episodes on iTunes.