Octavo of the Month (January 2007)
Mike Walag, ICDA High School R&S Chair
Mary Lynn Badarak
This is an older piece (circa 1979) that is still available, and would be perfect for a small choir or a choir with limited male singers. It is a slow lyrical piece, with wonderfully interwoven melodic lines in each voice part. The texture is polyphonic and each line is highly independent, yet very connected to the whole texture.
The text presents some very expressive imagery of a wounded knight being bourne by a falcon to a bed, decked with red and gold, in a great hall hanged with purple, deep in an orchard. It is all very colorful and expressive and the music, likewise, serves the text in very musically expressive linear phrases. Hence, you will find much rubato, text-driven rhythm patterns, pauses, ritardandos, and dynamic contrasts within the sections of this piece.
The ranges are very moderate and the baritone part is easy accessible to both basses and tenors. This piece would be an excellent teaching tool for linear line, arch phrasing, musical expression, rhythmic counting, and part independence. It would make both a good contest piece and general concert programming. It could also be used by a mixed trio or mixed sextet at solo/ensemble contest.