Kaksi paimenlaulua (Two Herding Songs)

by Matthew Whittall

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Matthew Whittall

Kaksi paimenlaulua (Two Herding Songs)



Kaksi paimenlaulua (2012)

(Two Herding Songs)

Every so often, you get handed one of those rare composing projects where you get to put aside modern(ist) aesthetic considerations and just have fun. When I was approached by the Hiljaa Ensemble, a group of enthusiastic hobbyist madrigal singers, for a short piece in Finnish for their anniversary concert, I found myself at a loss for a text and asked that they send me suggestions. Out of the dozens of poems I received, a rather lightweight pair of nineteenth-century verses by Antti Rytkönen, underlined as being similar to the type of pastoral poetry used in early madrigal settings, seemed just the right thing for the occasion. Although the resulting music is not especially madrigal-like, it does nod frequently toward elements of that tradition, and the bouncing, rhythmic, highly repetitive approach to text setting leans heavily on a few well-known examples of the genre. (I also took the opportunity to tweak the noses of a number of Finnish choral traditions along the way.) Tuliuulialei! takes as its basis the onomatopoeic horn call of the title, building layer upon layer of rolling dotted-rhythm patterns. This motto then carries forward into Mansikkavaras (The Strawberry Thief), a more humorous call-and-response song between crafty boys and ever-innocent girls.

Kaksi paimenlaulua is warmly dedicated to the Hiljaa Ensemble on their 15th anniversary, and to their director, Edward Ananian-Cooper.


Mixed chorus SSATBarB


Vocal and Choral Works


Hiljaa EnsembleDir. Edward Ananian-CooperOct. 27, 2012.


I-Tuliuulialei! II-Mansikkavaras (The Strawberry Thief)

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