Kimberly Barclay and I were students together at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and we sang in all of the choirs together, which is to say that we spent 99% of all our time together. She is a blast to be around, has a gorgeous soprano voice, plays piano like a maniac, and as soon as she graduated she was snatched up by the school district and given a brand new high school. It came as no surprise that she built a world-class choral program in just a few short years.
Ms. Broccoli (as I love to call her) commissioned me from her own pocket to write a piece for her women’s chorus, so I found a beautiful Octavio Paz poem and set it in its original Spanish. The work is an homage to Gabriel Faure, with its running piano part and fluid sensual melodies. At the end of the piece the conductor claps his/her hands and all of the singers shake a piece of white paper into the air, emulating the sound of a tree full of birds taking flight.
This version (SATB) was commissioned by Dr. Bruce Mayhall (again from his own pocket) for the Delaware Junior All-State Choir. Little Birds is dedicated to my crazy friend and fantastic conductor, Ms. Kimberly Barclay.
time empty of minutes,
a bird stopped short in air.
Light flung down,
the pillars awake
and, without moving, dance.
The time is transparent:
even if the bird is invisible,
let us see the color of his song.
Octavio Paz, 1914-1998