Jenni Brandon: "Love Songs" for Oboe and Soprano
From the composer:
I have chosen this collection of texts to tell a story of the Native American woman- a story that she might tell to her child while she rocked the child to sleep. We begin with a lullaby (partially borrowed from a Chippewa lullaby) sung gently to a child, and then she begins to tell the story of herself. In "Song of Basket-Weaving" she asks the Cedar tree (mother) to prepare her for love, for bearing children, and for becoming a woman. In "Song of the Blue-Corn Dance" she work with other women to harvest corn. Falling in Love, she sings a slightly giddy song "Oh I am Thinking" which evolves into a string and steadfast song in "Love Song from the Andes". Then her lover comes to her in "Love Song" but it is not too long after that he leaves her for Sault St Marie in Michigan, never to return again (I interpret this as death- he's gone away, maybe to fight, or to hunt, but he will never return to his lover). We assume at this point in the story that the child she sings to is their child, and she is telling the story of their love. The story ends how it begins, with the woman back in the present, continuing to sing a lullaby to her child as life goes on, without her love by her side.
This work was commissioned and premiered by Aryn Day Sweeney, with funding provided by the Indiana Arts Commission in 2014. It comes as two performance scores.