Zoo Song (2017)
For singing flutist
Duration: 8 minutes
Commissioned by Hannah Weiss
Like many children, I vividly remember my first trip to the zoo. I remember being amazed by Mother Nature, seeing the distinctive talents and features that all of her unique life forms had. I also remember my parents being annoyed at my nonstop attempts to mimic the animal sounds I had just heard – my endless moos, oinks, meows, and roars were probably not the most pleasant noises, at least not when I made them.
Zoo Song is an attempt to recreate this common childhood experience. The singing flutist assumes the character of a child who is obsessed with various animals. The performer squawks and brays in a desperate attempt to be each animal, only to prove unsuccessful at the end.
Many thanks to Hannah Weiss for commissioning this work and for allowing me to use the word “snort” in her piece.
What do you know about chickens?
Chickens can lay two hundred eggs a year.
I want to be a chicken.
What about pigs?
Pigs dream when they sleep,
Just like chickens.
I want to dream like chickens.
Did you know that horses can run
Twenty-seven miles an hour?
I want to be a horse!
But donkeys can bray even louder,
So maybe I’ll be a donkey instead…
What do you know about sloths?
They sleep for fifteen hours at a time.
I want to sleep like a sloth.
And sloths can swim,
But whales can swim even better.
And whales can spout.
I want to spout like a whale!
I can’t lay eggs like a chicken,
I can’t run like a horse,
I can’t bray like a donkey,
I can’t sleep like a sloth,
I can’t spout like a whale.
So maybe I’ll just be me,
But I still want to dream like a chicken!
January 20th, 2018
Doctoral Recital: Hannah Weiss, flute
Performed by Hannah Weiss
Maurice Gusman Concert Hall, University of Miami
Coral Gables, FL