After singing with the La Jolla Renaissance Singers for a few years, I was asked by the director, Bill Propp, to write a piece for the group’s upcoming concert season, titled “Experimental choral music of the 17th, 20th, and 21st centuries”. The program primarily featured charismatic madrigals of Wert, Gesualdo, and Monteverdi, works of astounding pain and serenity, contrapuntal prowess, emotional voluptuousness, exaggeration, and confrontation. The Loon On Oak-Head Pond was my attempt to not only reference, but to interact, to passionately mingle with these histrionic beauties.
The Loon On Oak-Head Pond
Lyrics by Mary Oliver (b. 1935)
cries for three days, in the gray mist.
cries for the north it hopes it can find.
plunges, and comes up with a slapping pickerel.
blinks its red eye.
you come every afternoon, and wait to hear it.
you sit a long time, quiet, under the thick pines,
in the silence that follows.
as though it were your own twilight.
as though it were your own vanishing song.