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R&S: High School Choirs

Octavo of the Month (January 2006)
Mike Walag, ICDA High School R&S Chair

How Many Bards

Michael Richardson (John Keats, text)
Boosey & Hawkes M-051-47557-5
SATB, oboe (or violin) and piano
Medium Difficulty, 3:00

Michael Richardson has crafted a contemporary gem out of this John Keats sonnet.  The end result could best be summed up by the closing  text of the poem, i.e. “to make pleasing music, and not wild uproar”.  The music seems to have a very distinct correlation to the text, and employs text painting and text-driven rhythmic motifs and textures.  In fact, Michael Richardson has included an interpretation of the Keats sonnet inside the front cover, which could be very useful in helping students understand the text.

This piece could well be a great teaching tool for phrasing, syllabic stress, and general musical expressivity. It has been designated as a Conductor’s Choice selection by the publisher.  It is also published in SSA.
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