The Sound the Stars Make Rushing Through the Sky for Orchestra
I. And Musing Awhile
II. Luna and Stella
III. Trail of Tears
Jane Johnston Schoolcraft was the first known Native American poet and the first known Native American woman writer. Her husband published her poems and stories. Her writings and poems in English paralleled those of Anglo-American and British writers such as William Wordsworth and Lydia Sigourney.
And Musing Awhile is excerpt taken from Schoolcraft’s poem, “Pensive Hours.” The last line of the poem is “So pensively joyful, so humbly sublime.” Searching and yearning motives with imitation among the strings, woodwinds, and brass circle around with percussive chordal punctuation. Orchestral colors portray the musings and whispers, the glistening stream, and the murmurings of kind voices.
Luna and Stella, the second movement, is a playful exchange between the moon and the stars in 7/8 meter with a loose rondo form of ABACAB. Opening with a slow ascending and descending motive in the low range of the cellos and bassoon, as instruments are added, the tempo becomes faster and more frantic until arriving at a 6/8 rhythmic section with rhythms vying for supremacy between 6/8 and 3/4. An eerie descending motive soars over the rhythmic cellos and basses, leading to the return of A and B, followed by a slightly skewed fugue.
Trail of Tears – lyrics and music by Barbara Harbach.
Evicted from their Southeastern homelands by the federal government in the 1830s, native Americans were sent on forced marches to eastern Oklahoma that became known as the Trail of Tears, an ordeal of disease, starvation, and death. Many meter changes, dramatic dynamics, use of the entire orchestral colors, imitation, with the entire story told through a child’s eyes.