Mourning Calls

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  Text:

 

From beyond the brume,

beyond

the horizon she swims, the mallard’s mate,

a wail for a call, brief,

before the wait

for her next plaint, shortened and hoarse

 

From around the cove she floats

into the evening lake, as its restive waves

batter the reeds, tawny and coarse

among the gray, the wind-tossed rocks.

She keens, still mourning—

pleads

 

Out into the wind she drifts,

her westward whines without hope,

amidst the singe of twilight,

a solitary

slipping of sun, singing

its own vast and disappearing song

- Judith Brice

Program Notes:

   Mourning Calls is a poem provided by Judith Brice, a local poet of Petoskey, MI. With the focus on a lonely mallard calling out to her lost mate, I immediately felt emotionally attached to the content. Perhaps with my marriage starting out for years of long distance and months without seeing my then-fiance, the impact this poem had on me ties directly into the musical aesthetic. There were many days where I felt alone; no mate by my physical side, even though I was bound by a promised engagement. While emotional connections contain more power than any other I’ve experienced, the lack of physical companionship took a toll on my heart and mind.

 

    What would it be like to be amidst floating waters, alone, with no mate by your side? What would it be like to be calling incessantly but being drowned out amidst the rocks, wind, and crashes of waves? While creatures are not humans, do they also feel emotion? Do animals who travel across bodies of water, dive deep into the sea, or migrate from one state to the next feel emotional ties to their mates, lost or not? Those types of questions were the inspiration behind my musical direction. Feelings of loneliness and hopelessness; calling out and not being heard; persistently reaching for love but falling short. Crying. Mourning. Pleading.

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Recording

Performed by Pittsburgh's "Tuesday Musical Club"

Score