Shell and Wing
Subtitle: For Soprano and Mixed Chamber Ensemble
B-flat Soprano Clarinet
None discovered thus far.
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
- Audio: Reference recording. Boston New Music Initiative (Tian Hui Ng, conductor; Stephanie Lamprea, soprano)
None discovered thus far.
To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project
- University of Wisconsin-Madison Wind Ensemble (Scott Teeple, conductor; Sarah Brailey, soprano) – 7 April 2022 (CBDNA 2022 North Central Conference, Madison, Wisc.)
- Juventas New Music Ensemble (Matthew Marsit, conductor; Kelley Hollis, soprano) – 9 February 2019
Works for Winds by This Composer
- Cerulean (2014/2017)
- Concerto for Wind Ensemble
- Cyclotron (2017)
- Daybreak Crossing (2014)
- ...dream of ember, dream of star (2021)
- Dreams in the Dusk (2012)
- Ghost Apparatus (2017)
- Goof Groove from Cerulean
- Kyrie (arr. Austin) (2015/2019)
- Luminescence (2009)
- Melodious Thunk (2012)
- The Night (2021)
- Red Vesper (2014)
- Schism (2010/2015)
- Severance (2020)
- Shell and Wing (2018)
- Stomp (2008)
- Their Eyes Are Fireflies (2018)
- This Night (2012/2021)
- Unquiet Hours (2017)
- What Is Written on the Leaves (2019)
- 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