Trapping Monkeys
4 Short Songs for Medium-high voice
on poems of Gevorg Emin (2017)

by Ron Hannah

#1. Thaw
#2. Firefly
#3. Political Funeral
#4. We Never Discuss Trapping Monkeys

Duration: about 3 minutes

     Here are four very short and snappy songs based on some pithy and clever poems by Gevorg Emin, an Armenian poet whose son, Artashes, I met while working on my opera, The Illuminator, in March of 2017 in Yerevan. Artashes sent me the poems, in his own translation, and has given me permission to use them in song settings.
Singers are always looking for arias and songs
by contemporary composers to perform on auditions and recitals.
These little songs might serve that purpose...

Click on the button above to download #4, and get
an idea of my style - sometimes called "quirky"!
To obtain the full set, send me an email (below).
The poems are, as I say, clever and evocative, and quite political. Except for #3 they speak of ordinary things in odd ways.

#1 is about trees budding in early spring - the poem warning them that it is too early, frost is on the way, and they are being cruelly fooled.

#2 speaks of a firefly, stupidly showing off its location to predators - a warning to idealistic candidates?

#3 speaks for itself, the politician in his coffin looking dignified for perhaps the first time.

#4 tells of a monkey trapped when he reaches into a cage to get a bottle of sugar water. He can't pull his paw away unless he gives up his prize, but he won't, and is thus captured. A lesson for us all.

The songs are short, like the poems, spiky in their harmonies, dissonant, even atonal, but I have tried to keep the vocal line as clear and easy as possible, giving clues and cues in the piano accompaniment. My wife, Andrea, has been learning them. She curses me, but says she loves them!