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For treble voices in four parts (SSAA) and piano. English.

Three Japanese Lyrics, for treble chorus and piano, uses poems by the well-known Japanese children's poet, Michio Mado, in English translation by The Empress Michiko of Japan. The poems provide great insight into our relationship with the natural world.

A Pleasant Landscape consists of two contrasting musical ideas which suggest the duality of horizontal placidity and vertical excitability found in the poem. Horizontal water is musically rendered by a limited range of notes, clustered harmonies and multiple simultaneous rhythms suggestive of rippling waves. Vertical trees are represented by strong, ascending arpeggios. The mountain, which combines both horizontality and verticality, is represented by combining these two musical ideas. The Sino-Japanese word for landscape, san-sui, is a combination of two words: mountain and water. This reflects the ancient Chinese dual principle of Yin and Yang. When these dualities are balanced there is a feeling of stability, a sense of being "at home" in the world.

A Dog Walks is a fugue which expresses the bewilderment of a person attempting to unscramble the complex motions of the legs of a walking dog. This musical form has been used because a listner must use his ears to unscramble the contrapuntal voices just as an observer must use her eyes to unscramble the movement of the dog's legs. The fugue is four voiced to match the four legs. Several contrapuntal devices common to a fugue are employed, including: augmentation, stretto, and inversion. In order to determine "which leg comes after which," the poet decides to tie a different bell on each leg. This clever idea, however, proves to be an unsuccessful solution to the problem, because the sounds of the bells become equally as indeterminate as the motion of the dog's legs.

The gentle, delicate music of Butterflies expresses not only the rapt attention of a person observing sleeping butterflies, but also the quiet and graceful nature of butterflies themselves.

Press Reviews

"These evocative, creative pieces present a variety of choral textures for a women's choir. They are somewhat reminiscent of Vincent Perischetti's Winter Cantata in their use of nature texts and rather spare melodies. The texts were written by the Japanese Children's poet, Michio Mado. The first movement, "A Pleasant Landscape," begins by creating the image of water shimmering in the sun. Four separate rhythmic ostinato patterns are used additively, one voice per voice part, to build a B flat Lydian scale. The notes oscillate like small waves on a lake, and the dynamics of this texture never exceed ppp. The remainder of the movement creates images of trees and mountains. The second movement, "A Dog Walks," is quite humorous. Both regular and onomatopoetic texts are used in this contrapuntal piece. Melodically and rhythmically, it is quite accessible, but independence of parts is essential to create the humor of the work. This movement is notable for its rehearsal lettering system. Each rehearsal letter has an accompanying word or phrase, such as "A (as in) Arff," "B (as in) Bone," and "E (as in) Every Dog Has His Day." What fun to have an inside joke between the conductor and singers. the final movements, "Butterflies," abounds in harmonic richness and stands apart from the first two movements because it is very homophonic in nature and is brief. A solo soprano is required in this movement. This is the most accessible of the three settings and should be within the grasp of most children's choirs."

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