Crickets at Dawn (2015)

SATB
Text by Leonora Speyer
Duration: ca. 2:45
Premiere by Choral Arts Ensemble, April 23, 2016

I imagine the scene in this poem happening at the end of a long, hot summer night — the kind of warm and drowsy night that is alive with the sound of nocturnal activity, including crickets and a drone of other insects.

The cricket sounds in the upper voices of the choir are notated from recordings of live crickets, albeit a few octaves lower. The close dissonances mimic the very slight pitch variations heard in the summertime backyard, and the rhythmic repetition of the chirping crickets starts and stops the way crickets do when other creatures come near. Meanwhile, the lyrical, sleepy melody weaves in and out of the natural sounds of the evening.

Live performance by Choral Arts Ensemble under the direction of David DeLyser.