While I live in Texas, I grew up and lived in Wisconsin for 25 years. Wisconsin is a smattering of rural farm communities, large towns, and large cities. When you head 'up north' (a common phrase in the state), you imply you're heading to a cabin and escaping the city/town life for a while (aka vacation). While I was growing up, my dad's side of the family owned (and still owns) a cabin in the northern part of the state. The cabin sits on a private lake and is one of the most serene and calming places I have been inside the United States - it's an Eden of sorts. Surrounded by nature and forest for miles, you can feel completely tapped into the wildlife and unplugged from everything else. Particularly, the wildlife in the area is stunning, especially the Common Loon. Their cry is unmistakable and haunting, tapping a part of us that feels trapped by the urbanization of everything about us. But also, it is a call used when separated from its offspring or its mate. The combination of the haunting call crying out when separated from its mate and the wild cry inside of us has me believe that so many of us feel this way - crying out for connection, to connect with nature and unplug and be set free in ways we aren't able to.
The Loon and its cry span the history of many Native American cultures and tribes as a either a signal of death,
When I discovered and read Christopher's poem (I'll throw my voice..."), I felt that this emotion and raw feeling captured the feeling behind these 'wails' from the loon. I wanted to capture that pain and longing in music but sought the right poetry to help inspire the music. With Christopher's poetry and some interspersed lyrics, this is what I would like to use to tell the story
FULL TEXT (Christopher's poetry in bold)
Silently she crosses the lake and calls
Mourning the unanswered cry of her clarion call
Cold, and silent
The weight of eternity alone to bear
I'll throw my voice into the stars
and maybe the echo of my words
will be written for you in the clouds by sunrise.
Far beyond the shore, breaking the lake's repose
a song from the deep that cuts the night
and lifts her heart's veil.
United they cross the lake and cry.
All I am trying to say is
I will love you through the darkness
The use of the ocarina/soprano saxophone/or clarinet should mimic the loon’s cry as close as possible with weight on the first note of the call to provide a springboard. Elongate and ‘pull’ the E-natural to create tension and release with and against the ensemble.
Strive for balance in all parts, but particularly from the lowest sonorities to the highest. An inverse of that balance can upset the portrait being created. The work, as a whole, is a sonic landscape. The treatment of parts with “oo” or “ah” create the scenery and propel the emotional architecture of the work as much as the text itself.
Voicing: SSATBB and ocarina/soprano sax
Status: Unpublished, unpremiered