Madrigal: Sola dosis facit venenum (2002)

for SATB quartet or chorus

Premiere: Madison, WI; Amy Kleist, soprano; Erica Won-jing Lowe, alto; Chris Lang, tenor; Jerry Hui, bass

This is basically a little joke, written in only 2 hours. The text for the entire piece is

Sola dosis facit venenum.

which means “Only the dose makes a poison” — a line I learnt from my Food Science class. What interest me is the sole mentioning of so many so-fa names in that line: “so la do si fa …”, which is the “theme” for this piece. It begins with a straight real canon, starts another with a second theme (also beginning with the same so-la-do-si-fa…), and ends with a somewhat early Renaissance-like passage.

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