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Shell and Wing

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David Biedenbender

David Biedenbender

Subtitle: For Soprano and Mixed Chamber Ensemble

General Info

Year: 2018
Duration: c. 18:00
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Bent Space Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $80.00


Full Score
B-flat Soprano Clarinet
Percussion, including:

  • Vibraphone


Soprano Voice


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

My sons, Izaak and Declan, have profoundly changed and shaped the way I see the world. I initially set out to write a collection of vignettes about them, about childhood -- a way to capture the beautiful, tender, and often silly and hilarious moments of their lives, but my plans suddenly shifted after yet another all-too-common incidence of violence against children. In response to this violence, I felt compelled to respond in some way -- to respond to my fear of sending my sons out into this violent world. Shell and Wing emerged as a collaboration and a response to these parental impulses with my friend and fellow father, poet Robert Fanning. Robert’s response to our conversation -- a poem in two stanzas -- gave voice to the ambiguity, the conflict I feel as a parent -- this profound longing to protect my children coupled with the knowledge that I must also let them go.

The first poem is in a parent’s voice -- my voice -- and the second poem is in a child’s voice -- that of my sons. Musically, the first movement is a sort of fragmented lullaby interwoven with a distorted memory of Robert Schumann’s Träumerei (Dreaming/Reverie) from Kinderszenen (Scenes from Childhood). Schumann’s harmonies are pulled and stretched until they resemble only a distant echo of the original.

The second movement begins with solo piano, distant and aching that transforms into a quiet, dream-like duet for the soprano and vibraphone. The child’s song grows and builds, underpinned by a chaconne -- a repeated chord progression -- and eventually becomes the same song heard in the first movement, the parent’s song.

- Program Note by composer


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Biedenbender, D.; Fanning, R. (2018). Shell and Wing : For Soprano and Mixed Chamber Ensemble [score]. Bent Space Music: [United States].
  • David Biedenbender website Accessed 29 March 2022