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66 Times for soprano and chamber orchestra (1992), ca. 15’

66 Times for soprano and chamber ensemble (1992), ca. 15’

The title, 66 Times, the Voice of Pines and Cedars, refers to the text of the last song in this piece, an English translation of a poem written by a Zen nun in the 18th century. The remaining texts are taken from the Kokinshu, a collection of Japanese poetry from the early 10th century. All of these poems share similar characteristics in the way they depict nature.  Each movement represents a different season, beginning and ending with autumn.

 

There are two versions of this work.  In addition to this setting for soprano and chamber ensemble, there is a setting for soprano and chamber orchestra.  The orchestral version was premiered by the Cleveland Chamber Symphony Orchestra and the ensemble version was premiered in Boston at an Underground Composers Collective concert.

 

I.

    flying wing in wing

across the white clouds of the

    night sky   the wild geese

go   their very number

vivid beneath the autumn moon

 

II.  (combination of three poems)

    oh sweet nightingale

your first songs of the season

    unleashed unbidden

a love without an object   a

love without the hope of joy

 

    oh sweet nightingale

of the mountains   you who wait

    for midsummer's month

flutter your wings   raise your voice

sing us your unforgotten song

 

    oh sweet nightingale

do not return to your home

    in faraway hills

as long as you can sing   please

remain here in my garden

 

III.

    when the warm mists veil

all and buds swell   while yet the

    spring snows drift downward

even in the hibernal

village   crystal blossoms fall

 

IV. 

sixty-six times have these eyes beheld the

    changing scenes of autumn  

I have said enough about moonlight; ask me

    no more

Only listen to the voice of pines and cedars

    when no wind stirs


 

Poems I-III have been used with permission given by Laurel Rasplica Rodd with Mary Catherine Henkenius.  _Kokinshu:  A Collection of Poems Ancient and Modern_.  Boston, MA, Cheng & Tsui, 1996.  (Reprint of clothbound edition published by Princeton University Press, 1984.)

 

Poem IV has been used with permission given by Charles E. Tuttle Co., Inc

Recording available at Albany Records, iTunes, and Amazon

Chamber Ensemble Score available at Subito Music Corporation

Chamber Ensemble Parts available at Subito Music Corporation

Chamber Orchestra Score and Parts available at Trigon Music Press

"... abounds in arching vocal lines, harmony that sits on the precipice of tonality, and richly hued atmospheres that depict the various seasons."

Cleveland Plain Dealer

review of 66 Times premiered by the Cleveland Chamber Symphony