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Tales from the Grove - BSN/HP

Composer: Ferenz, Amber

Publisher: T.D. Ellis

Edition: 71914


Tales from the Grove
for bassoon and harp
by Amber Ferenz (b. 1973) - American composer and bassoonist
I. Roots and Rain
II. Leaves and Branches
III. Nocturne - The Trees and Owls Go Stargazing
IV. Scherzo - Mycelium Magic
V. Tree Spirits and Wind - A Love Story



This piece is the result of a serendipitous commission late in the summer of 2021 by nature photographer, botanist, and fellow tree lover Terry Ashley, who requested a piece for bassoon and piano in honor of the occasion of her 80th birthday.  Many thanks, Terry!

The bassoon & harp version is the result of a lovely collaborative effort called Voices In the Wood, which began in early 2023.  Kelly Brzozowski is the group’s harpist, and while rehearsing and recording the last movement of Tales together, we discovered the magic that is bsn+harp, and got the idea to arrange the entire piece!  I hadn’t written much for harp previously, and I very much appreciate Kelly’s assistance with this arrangement.

Tales From the Grove is dedicated to a very, very special grove of dwarf white oak trees growing on top of Little Scaly Mountain at The Mountain Retreat, near Highlands, NC.  This particular grove is ancient. Trees are known to many Native Americans as The Standing People, and these have stood for hundreds of years before Europeans came to take and colonize the land we now stand on.  This grove is a very sacred place for Terry and me, and it is our hope that these beautiful beings sing to you through the music of this piece. See these beauties:

I. Roots and Rain:  Heavy clouds bring a rainstorm. The trees welcome the raindrops, which begin slowly at first, just a few at a time.  Gradually it rains harder, and the trees send their roots to gather in every last drop and drink deeply, singing a song of gratitude as they receive the blessings of sky water.  Eventually, the rain slows, and stops.

II. Leaves and Branches: The sun emerges from behind the clouds, and a light breeze comes to shimmer along the leaves, high in the branches.  Blue skies and fluffy clouds abound.

III. Nocturne - The Trees and Owls Go Stargazing:  Of COURSE the Owl People and the Standing People are friends!  It’s deep in the moonless night.  The Owls land in the branches and in their large night eyes, the mysterious cold bright stars are reflected.  They sing the Song of Night together, until at last the Owls have hunting business elsewhere and fly silently away.

IV. Scherzo - Mycelium Magic: There is magic underneath our feet!  Mycelial fabric plays a crucial role in how trees communicate with one another.  They use the mycelium networks built by our friends the fungi as Tree Internet.  Watch out, the Mushroom People are jokers, and sometimes tricksters, too!

V: Tree Spirits and Wind - A Love Story:   The wind and the trees are made of spirits, and they sing to each other: come closer, my love, and dance with me.  The bassoon calls to the wind spirits, and they arrive in a rush, and the Great Dance continues until they peacefully sing of their love together.