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Ahead of All Parting - BSN/HARP/VOICE

Composer: Brandon, Jenni

Publisher: Brandon

Edition: 71206


Ahead of All parting

for soprano, bassoon, and harp

by Jenni Brandon, American composer

Ahead of All Parting takes the listener on a journey through memory, death, and the beyond.  The unique combination of the two texts in this work – interpretation and selections from Rainier Maria Rilke’s Sonnets to Orpheus as well as E.E. Cummings poem why||do the tell a story coming to terms with loss, and celebrating the memories of someone who is gone. The work explores memory and nostalgia, resignation and finally acceptance.

There is an arc to this journey in that we begin and end with the high, ethereal song of the bassoon, representing what lies beyond. The mezzo-soprano becomes the “she” in the work – first on the side of the living and present, and eventually crossing over. The harp plays the role as the barrier in between these worlds. Throughout the work the music explores the emotions of death, both from the one facing the inevitable, to the ones who deal with the aftermath of saying goodbye. Throughout the work, the “she” moves closer and closer to that physical and ethereal barrier, eventually crossing the barrier of the harp and moving beyond “where we cannot follow.”

The colors of the mezzo, bassoon, and harp lend themselves beautifully and equally to creating, at times, an ethereal and reflective experience, while at other time exploring anger or fear through techniques unique to the harp and bassoon. There is a sharp moment of transition in the harp where the technique of a thunder glissando shakes the mood from reflective to despair, moving into a duet between harp and bassoon, beckoning to the “she” before the final section of the work “Erect no gravestone”.

This work received its world premiere performance at Louisiana State University on April 1st, 2019 with Darrel Hale-bassoon (lead commissioner), Megan Ihnen-mezzo-soprano, and Stephanie Gustafson-harp.

Co-commissioned by:

Brierwood Ensemble
Amy M. Pollard
Javier A. Rodriguez
Barrick Stees – in honor of his sister, Jennifer Stees, and in memory of bassoonist Nancy Lutes
Christin Webb

duration: app. 23 minutes