To poems by Li Shangyin and W.S. Merwin
2 B-flat Clarinets
2 B-flat Bass Clarinets 2 Bassoons
2 B-flat Soprano Saxophones 2 F Horns
2 B-flat Trumpets
Percussion Battery (4 players):
Crotales (bowed and struck), Vibraphone (bowed and struck), 2 cymbals, high hat, maracas, sleigh bells, cowbell,
Electric Piano (amplified) Double Bass (amplified)
Set-up: Instruments are to be arrayed from left to right in the following order. This can be modified to conform with stage size, but left right assignments should be retained:
1st row: Oboes (L), Flutes (C), Clarinets (R)
2nd row: Sax1 (L), Bass Clarinets (L), Bassoons (R), Sax 2 (R)
3rd row: Trpt 1 (L), Trbs (L), Horns (C), Euphonium/Tuba (R), Trpt 2 (R) 4th row: Percussion L, Piano/Bass (C), Percussion R
Voice: Both texts alternate, and are to be sung in their original language, i.e., the Li in Mandarin, the Merwin in English. A somewhat literal word-by-word translation is provided underneath the pinyin for the convenience of the performer. Dynamics are at the discretion of the vocalist, though it is understood that the vocal part should always be prominent. If possible, no amplification should be used for the voice.
The Ornate Zither and the Nomad Flute was commissioned for the MIT Wind Ensemble, Fred Harris, director, by Richard Nordlof, MIT Class of 1955, in loving memory of his wife Jody. It was premiered by soprano Anne Harley and MITWE at Kresge Auditorium, Cambridge, MA, on March 11 2005.