A Cricket Needs a Queen

A Cricket Needs a Queen (2006) is the fourth collaboration between poet Denise Newman and myself. As with our other projects (Wishes Night and Unbecoming for Volti, The Oh of Moon and Piano for The Piedmont Choir Ensemble), Denise wrote this text specifically for this piece. In this case, we started with an idea from conductor Robert Geary: a piece that captures / reflects something of the childhood experience. When Denise presented me with the text, I was immediately drawn to its rushing energy and the way it captures the feeling of a game. This energy is represented not only in the meaning of the text (for example: “down the yellow hill rolling down”) but also Denise's wonderful word choice and sonic juxtaposition (“quick quick cricket” and “of all the oleander all over”). To me this suggested music of a mostly active character, highlighting the repetition in the text (“one cricket, two cricket”). Again, it was a great pleasure to work with Denise's words, and as I was composing, to imagine the wonderful music from the fine singers of The Piedmont Choir Ensemble.