for SATB mixed choir
ca 4.5 minutes
commissioned by The Genesis Chamber Singers (Boston, MA); Joseph Young, conductor
Text: Redbirds by Sara Teasdale; 《春殘》李清照 “Late Spring” by Qingzhao Li
Premiere: February 2, 2017 by the Genesis Chamber Singers
Redbirds (1920) by Sara Teasdale and Late Spring 《春殘》by Qingzhao Li both express the poets’ longing for a bygone time of peace in their lifetime. Their observation of seemingly neutral and unchanging scene of nature contrasts with their sadness.
In this musical setting, both poems are heard at the same time, each to its own melodic theme. As the melody of Redbirds repeats itself as a simple canon, Late Spring enters in a contrasting imitative counterpoint. Though the compositional technique is Western in nature, the singing style when the Chinese poem is sung draws on vocal styles heard in certain Chinese opera and folk traditions.