Composed by: Kathleen Skinner
Composer’s Note: At the Òran retreat in November 2008, the choir took part in a group ice-breaking activity: each member was to bring, and read aloud, a masterwork of literature from his or her childhood writings. The result was inspiring, and I took it upon myself to set two of these gems to music for the choir’s 2009 Stories concert. Juvenilia has two movements. The first, a setting of Jennifer McMillan’s poem Love, is a choral parody of popular contemporary North American choral composers, particularly Eric Whitacre (one of Òran’s favorite composers). With its too-literal word-painting, sentimental close harmonies, and overuse of modern choral techniques, Love is dedicated with great affection to Jennifer and her husband, John. The second piece, Unicorns Are Magic, is a setting of a short story penned by soprano Erin Lange when she was in grade three. Florid pianistic accompaniment in the style of the Muppets, shameless cribbing off of better composers, and judicious usage of narrative styles flesh out the hyper-feminine tale of a baby unicorn and her none-too-patient mother. The piece is dedicated to the ever-patient and ever-lovely Ruth Lange.
The concept behind Juvenilia is inspired by the podcast ‘Grownups Read Things They Wrote As Kids’.
for ‘Unicorns are Magic’
Synopsis: Two songs inspired by children’s poems and short stories. The first is about love and what that means. The second is a story about a baby unicorn (tenors) and the conversation it has with its mother (basses) concerning whether they are magical creatures or not.
Accompaniment: ‘Love‘ is a cappella, ‘Unicorns are Magic‘ has piano accompaniment.