Faint and Fragile Petals
For Medium Voice, Oboe, English Horn, and Bassoon (or optional Bass Clarinet (2023)
by Ronald Hannah


Duration: about 7 minutes

     Here is a lovely, nostalgic set for voice and trio of reed instruments. Somehow Amy Lowell's poems continue to fascinate me, and I have set so many of her works that I have set up an entire web page devoted to them - Click here.

Clicking below will allow you to
hear a MIDI version while
 scrolling down to follow the score. 


     This one is based on her "24 Hokku on a Modern Theme". Nowadays we call these short poems "Haiku". She was interested in things Oriental, and it is possible that some of the collection are translations from Chinese. But it doesn't matter. I have selected 12 of them and put them in an order that tells a story of flowers and lost love. The Haiku are vague, and so is the story - all perfectly appropriate in my view. As an example, here is #6:

Watching the iris,
The faint and fragile petals--
How am I worthy?

     The accompaniment consists of 3 double-reed instruments, mirroring the emotions in the poetry. I felt this group was perfect to express the loneliness of the lines, especially the English Horn which I have always loved for it mournful quality. And as I was writing, it occured to me that the bass clarinet would work too, in place of (no insult to bassoonists intended) the bassoon. I played bass clarinet half a century ago when I was a student, and I love to use its rich sound wherever I can.

     To obtain the complete work, score and parts, please send me an email (my only request being that if you perform this work, that you inform me of the date and location of the performance so that I can keep my performances page up-to-date), or visit the Canadian Music Center.