Haiku: for Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Alto, and Vocal Percussion

This composition was completed in December 2017 and was performed by The Smith College Noteables.

*Performance video to come*


Program Note ~

I – Abscission

Tori Clayton

Noa Kaufhold

Annabel Utz

Charlie Bauer

Mackenzie Dreese

II – Crystallization

Cara Dietz

Maggie Painter

Liz Curran-Groome

Emily Prendergast

Jordan Moody

Phoebe Weissblum

Meg Kikkeri

Text by Tori Clayton:
Time grows old I feel it still.
Rivers and roads will run to you.
Creep upon the young nightingale.

Take my heart with you.

III – Metamorphosis

Tori Clayton

Meg Kikkeri

Olivia Dufour

Rowyn Davis

Mackenzie Dreese


A note about the piece ~

While writing this piece, I was reminded of both the trials and the enriching experiences of a year at school, especially how transformative each can be. My a cappella group specifically has become a huge part of my life at school, and has changed me musically, intellectually, and emotionally. A haiku typically presents its audience with a just a few words relating to nature that cause one to reflect on a meaningful aspect of one’s life. There are infinite ways of interpreting such a poem, and I would like to invite the audience of my piece to treat it in the same way – each listener will probably leave this performance with a different understanding or emotion.

There are three movements in this piece, the first consisting of five voice parts, the second seven, and the third five. In the first movement, I discovered the freedom evoked by the technique of a drone and ostinato underneath a more lyrical melody that live voices can produce. I also played with interweaving modes and how different modes can compliment each other. This movement reminded me of the autumn season, when one first arrives at school, and abscission – the process of leaves falling from the trees.

The second movement is a canon with only one stanza of repeated text. The text consists of song titles of several songs in The Noteables’ repertoire that I have stitched together into a poem. This movement remains in one mode, but explores the effects of heavy layering and repetition. To me, the movement is reminiscent of the gradual process of crystallization that occurs in the winter season – the heart of the school year.

The third movement features a variety of pitched and non-pitched sounds, as well as a more polyphonic texture. This movement highlights the range and versatility of the vocal instrument and includes a small improvisational section. I connected this movement to springtime, and to profound change – as in metamorphosis – as well as the closing of the school year and what that means to me.

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