Beetles, Monsters and Roses – “I am Rose”

Instrumentation: Treble Chorus and Electronics
Duration: 14′, though individual songs can be performed
Commission: San Francisco Girls Chorus
Premiere: 10/28/94
San Francisco Girls Chorus, Sharon Paul Conductor
Calvary Presbyterian Church, San Francisco, CA

Program Note:
Beetles, Monsters and Roses 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 project a zest for the sound and sense of words. The four individual songs, which may be performed separately, 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.

Press Quote:
“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!

“Luminous seems the best word to describe this piece. I Am Rose shimmers and lingers…the smooth and dreamy sections are the true hallmarks of this work, winning one over with their feeling of timelessness. ..Conductors will enjoy investigating and performing the spectrum of colors and emotions in the work, and audiences should be fascinated by the results.”–Choral Journal

Purchase Score(s): 
Purchase from Colla Voce Music