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By Neil McKay
Another work by the composer of There Once Was___ and Four Spiritual Songs, this humorous nine minute opus for Soprano and Piano is also available for Soprano and Chamber Ensemble, as well. In addition to Soprano, the ensemble includes Flute (double Alto Flute and Piccolo); Bb Clarinet (double Bass Clarinet); Percussion (one player); Harp (if Harp unavailable, Piano or Synthesizer may be substituted); Viola; and Double Bass. The world-premiere of the ensemble version was performed in Honolulu in October, 1995, by Soprano Leda Asher Yager and members of the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra. The American premiere of the piano/vocal edition was given at the NATS National Convention in St. Louis, Missouri in December, 1996, featuring Soprano Dr. Jean-Anne Teal and Pianist Louise Lerch.
“The subject of this nine-section extended song is what makes a ‘well-sung song’ from the viewpoints of six academic voice teachers, each with the aural equivalent of tunnel vision and a disinclination to listen to what anyone else says. The poem, written by William Leyerle in 1986 for inclusion in the second edition of Vocal Development Through Organic Imagery is an adaptation of John Godfrey Saxe’s well-known poem, The Blind Men and the Elephant. The mood throughout is one of pedantic solemnity betrayed by the music into absolute hilarity. The vocal line contains every vocal style in the soprano repertoire with some tears-of-laughter-producing musical parodies. The singer must be in full command of her technique as well as these styles. The presently available score is a piano reduction that is perfectly acceptable for performance.... This piece is the ultimate inside joke — a marvelously witty caricature of the voice teaching profession turned loose on unsuspecting singers. It is a natural for that perennial happening, the ‘Faculty Mock Recital,’ or wherever there is an audience of singers.”
17 Pages High Range ca. 9:00 Minutes