As we are talking about love we have decided to do a special mention to Love Songs for Soprano and Oboe by Jenny Brandon. It talks about the love between a mum and her children, a love that we believe is universal, the best love ever. Because Valentine’s day does not have to be only about couples 😉
Jenny Brandon has 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.
It begins 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 works with other women to harvest the corn. Falling in love, she sings a slightly giddy song “Oh I Am Thinking” which evolves into a strong 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.
It is a story that Jenni Brandon feel can be universally understood, but points to the strength of not only the Native American woman, but to the strength of all women to persevere, to raise children and to keep community strong against all odds. It is a “love song” in that it goes beyond just romantic love, but tells of love for a child and love of the land. he work may be performed as a whole, or individual movements may be chosen for a shorter performance.
This work was commissioned and premiered by Aryn Day Sweeney, oboist and Assistant Professor of Music Performance at Ball State University with funding provided by the Indiana Arts Commission in 2014. It was premiered at Ball State University by Aryn Day Sweeney-oboe and Yoko Shimazaki-Kilburn-soprano in March 2014.
You can find all the information here: https://jennibrandon.com/product/love-songs-for-soprano-and-oboe-sheet-music/.