The Trumpet of the Swan
Duration: 22 mins.
Commissioned by Millsaps College for the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Millsaps Singers, this extended fantasia for chorus and orchestra conjures up a feeling of the world of Eudora Welty, whose magical prose provides the text. Based on excerpts from Welty’s famous short story “The Wanderers” (from The Golden Apples), the work explores her signature themes of life, death, and of the bittersweet nature of life’s opposites often being bound together. Since the story’s central character incessantly played Beethoven’s Für Elise wherever she went (as a young girl), the celebrated theme is used often in the work as a discreet leitmotiv, along with a rich profusion of melodic, harmonic, and text-painting effects.
- “Shading here, underlining there, Jones made the listener see how he had seen Welty’s words and how they sounded to him…There is an elegiac air to the piece, a feeling of sadness mixed with hope. The frequent bass underlinings from the orchestra sustained this note. At one point, when Welty wrote that ‘hope and despair were the closest blood—unrecognizable one from the other sometimes,’ Jones’ music doubles back also, male voices underlying those of the women, until there is almost a round at work, richly echoing the point of ‘making moments double upon themselves.’ An ovation was shared by singers, conductor, composer and the famous author after the soaring crescendo of the ending.”
---Abe D. Jones, Jr., Greensboro News & Record
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