Celebrating 40 years! 1983-2023

Click image above to zoom

L’Étoile du Nord (score & parts) - OB/CL/BSN

Composer: Brandon, Jenni

Publisher: Jenni Brandon

Edition: 71666


L’Étoile du Nord

for oboe, clarinet and bassoon
by Jenni Brandon (b. 1977) - American composer 

The title of this work L’Étoile du Nord, or “The Star of the North” comes from the state motto of Minnesota, reflecting both the state’s French history and that Minnesota is the northern most state in the contiguous United States. In telling this story of Minnesota, it was important to me to explore the history and beauty of this state and to honor the culture of Native Americans in Minnesota and how they are woven together.

In Ojibwe astronomy, the constellation Maang, or Loon (also the state bird of Minnesota), is considered a messenger and leader.  Within this constellation is the important North Star (Polaris), or Giiwedin Anang, used for navigation by Native Americans and settlers.  The loon itself, covered with white spots, is said to reflect the many stars in the sky.

In this work you’ll hear three movements inspired by Ojibwe culture and astronomy, reflected against the background of Minnesota’s gorgeous lakes and starry skies. Each movement begins with a haiku that I wrote to represent these stories, from Giiwedin Anang guiding us home, to the loon capturing the starry night in bright white spots. I use the various calls of the loons as inspiration for these movements: In Movement 2 you’ll hear the flight call or “laughing call”, and in Movement 3 you’ll hear the mournful call and response of loons as they search for each other through the mist over a vast lake.

It was an inspiration and honor to write this work for Sonora Winds as they are so masterful in storytelling through music. I am grateful to them for this chance to explore Minnesota and Ojibwe culture, and grateful for the support of the Minnesota State Arts Board and the legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund that gives artists the opportunity to celebrate this beautiful state.

  1. Giiwedin Anang (North Star)
    Giiwedin Anang
    Reflected on glassy lakes
    Light to guide us home
2. The Loon
     The night sky sparkles
     A loon captures starry night
     In black and white spots
3. The Call
     Vast skies full of stars
     Gray waters like silk ribbons
     Loons call in the mist