Performed by the Tuesday Musical Club in Pittsburgh, PA
Terri Denmon, Flute
Bill Lewis, English Horn
Laura Leonard, Violin
Alice Kalla, Cello
Julia Scott, Harp
Bob Herold - Baritone
Score Information: www.manfredoniamusic.com/mourning-calls
Mourning Calls is a poem provided by Judith Brice, a local poet of Petoskey, MI. With the focus on a lonely mallard calling out to her lost mate, I immediately felt emotionally attached to the content. Perhaps with my marriage starting out for years of long distance and months without seeing my then-fiance, the impact this poem had on me ties directly into the musical aesthetic. There were many days where I felt alone; no mate by my physical side, even though I was bound by a promised engagement. While emotional connections contain more power than any other I’ve experienced, the lack of physical companionship took a toll on my heart and mind.
What would it be like to be amidst floating waters, alone, with no mate by your side? What would it be like to be calling incessantly but being drowned out amidst the rocks, wind, and crashes of waves? While creatures are not humans, do they also feel emotion? Do animals who travel across bodies of water, dive deep into the sea, or migrate from one state to the next feel emotional ties to their mates, lost or not? Those types of questions were the inspiration behind my musical direction. Feelings of loneliness and hopelessness; calling out and not being heard; persistently reaching for love but falling short. Crying. Mourning. Pleading.
"From beyond the brume,
beyond the horizon, she swims,
the mallard’s mate,
for a call, brief before the wait
for her next plaint, shortened and hoarse
From around the cove she floats
into the evening lake, as its restive waves
batter the reeds, tawny and coarse
among the gray, the wind-tossed rocks.
She keens, still mourning—
Out into the wind she drifts,
her westward whines without hope,
amidst the singe of twilight,
slipping of sun, singing
its own vast and disappearing song"
- Judith Brice