SNOWBURST SONGS: Four Haiku for Winter— for Soprano Voice and Piano, 2005

Duration: 8:45 min.

Performance practicality:  Medium difficulty. Traditional notation and meter.

In December of 2002, Priscilla McLean was in residence at The MacDowell Colony, Peterborough, NH, to continue working on her autobiography “Hanging Off the Edge— Revelations of a Modern Troubadour”.  While walking to her composing studio from the Colony House, a mile through deep hemlock forest and wide meadows on the 400-acre estate, she witnessed the first major snowfall of the season, and became inspired by its shimmering beauty.  Upon reaching the cabin, she immediately sat down at the piano and began to compose this set of songs, completely by surprise.  The style of each song depicts one aspect of the snowfall, viewed over several subsequent days— first, the early morning mist rising off the meadows (“Winter Mist Rising”), then that night when the air cleared and the deep cold set in, with hundreds of stars and then the brilliant moon in the sky by the cabin, where no town lights were present (“Ghost Night”).  The third song, “Meadow Jewels” was of the sparkles and twinkles of color gleaming off the meadows the next day in the frigid dry air, and the last song, “After the Snow— Feelin’ Good!” came from the ecstatic joy from witnessing the snowfall and being again at MacDowell, and having time to compose and write.

All four of the songs are in a loose Haiku style of seventeen syllables per poem, written by the composer.  The first and last songs were finished at MacDowell, along with the four poems, but it took two more years to finish the middle two songs, in-between McLean Mix touring, video and electronic work.  The songs were completed on January 6, 2005, and have given McLean many happy hours of singing and remembering.