Instrumentation: Treble Chorus and Electronics
Duration: 14′, though individual songs can be performed
Commission: San Francisco Girls Chorus
San Francisco Girls Chorus, Sharon Paul Conductor
Calvary Presbyterian Church, San Francisco, CA
The Wendigo is one of an original set of four, called Beetles, Monsters and Roses. The piece is dedicated to the San Francisco Girls Chorus. The poems I chose share lively verbal rhythms, a whimsical quality and references to the anima of nature. The poets: Mary Ann Hoberman, Walter de la Mare, Ogden Nash and Gertrude Stein all projected a zest for the sound and sense of words. The four individual songs are Click Beetle, Clack Beetle, by MaryAnn Hoberman; Someone, by Walter de la Mare; I Am Rose, by Gertrude Stein; and The Wendigo, by Ogden Nash. Some of the electronics were made from processed sampled sounds, such as whispering (by Maya and Anya Groner), the whirring of a hand-held egg beater, my own voice and the chinking of a fork on a cup. Other sounds were directly synthesized using the CSound program. I played with the irony that sounds that most resemble those of instruments, such as plucked strings, are completely synthesized, while some of the stranger sounds are made from sampled sounds.
“Four Songs (Beetles, Monsters and Roses)…the various electronic effects provided a quirky sonic ambiance for vocal writing of great expertise and imagination….should assure many future performances here and elsewhere.”–Chorus!
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