Still Still Still - Austrian Christmas Lullaby

Complexity Level: simple - would suit middle or upper primary.

Parts: 2 part treble

Genre: Christmas Lullaby

Deets: D major. 4/4


UPDATE Nov 2016 - This week, directorJane Hawkins sent me a phone recording of her choir A-Choired Taste singing this . How Wonderful!!! Enjoy.

Recently I was talking to a primary school music teacher about her choirs. She works in a public school and said she needs songs with backing tracks because the kids generally prefer accompaniment but she doesn't have a pianist. With that in mind, I've arranged this week's song - the stunning Austrian Lullaby Still Still Still - for two part trebles and ta-da  a backing track. And thinking of the teachers and parents who have to sit through long end of year concerts, I've kept this arrangement to two short verses. 

Funny how some songs are beautiful and some are just shmaltzy. I find this tune sweet as honey and even with the synth backing and indulgent levels of reverb, I still think it's lovely and somehow not too cheesy! (But that's personal taste of course!)

Please let me know if you want the backing sent to you, either as an mp3 or as a wav. 

The Day update

Last week I committed to reconnecting with the big work I've been neglecting lately, Here's my first report. The work is called The Day and the text draws on a wide range of poetry shaped into the structure of a day. The theme of the work is inspired by Taoist poetry and the Tao idea that intrigues and eludes me of unknowing.

Look and it can't be seen
Listen and it can't be heard
Reach and it can't be grasped

How I'm going to put that into a big musical work doesn't really shape into words easily, so I can't explain my thinking to you, much beyond it is structured in the shape of a day, and is a story of the struggle to let go and be at peace with unknowing. 
I think the piece will be half way between on opera and a choral work - not fully acted out, but with more options than just standing in choir rows. It feels like an oratorio I suppose but it's certainly not drawn from the bible.  My ideas aren't completely formed here yet, I guess we'll see where it takes us. 

Today's song is a sketch of the first piece. It is sung by The Wu. A 'Wu' is an ancient Chinese sorceress who can summon the rain, and see the future. I think it will be ambiguous whether she is narrating or prophesizing in the work. But each section of the day will be heralded by her. I am scoring for contralto because we low ones could do with  more music to sing, I think a prophetess should have a voice that is drawn from the earth and also if I write it for contralto I can sing it! I might sketch out all of the Wu's main songs and then orchestrate them together. I will need to think about orchestration that slowly builds (like Grieg's Morning)- and somehow feels like mist swirling. But I think the vocal line could be quite big - The Wu has to have a mighty presence, even at dawn. (I accidentally sang "drawn by the ever".. instead of "drawn from". tut tut).

The text for this piece comes from an ancient Greek Poem called Works and Days by Hesiod. 

At dawn, a fruitful mist is spread
over the earth
upon the fields
drawn from the ever flowing rivers
raised above the earth by windstorm.