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An Orange Tree by Jenni Brandon Was Performed At Central Michigan University During the SAI Small Ensemble Competition

April 11 @ 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm

An Orange Tree by Jenni Brandon was performed at the Central Michigan University during the Sigma Alpha Iota, Eta Xi Chapter Small Ensemble Competition. The performance occurred at 7:00 P.M. on April 11, 2024, in the Chamichian Recital Hall. The performers were Maleia Thompson, bassoon and Kathleen Muehring, contrabassoon. The judges were Dr Christopher Chapman and Professor Tracey Watson.

The program was:

SAI Small Ensemble Competition

Program notes for An Orange Tree are:

An Orange Tree for bassoon and contrabassoon is inspired by the poem “Hay un naranjo ahí” by Alfonso Quijada Urías and its translation “There’s an Orange Tree Out There” by Darwin J. Flakoll.  There is hope in this work as it explores and honors a story of remembrance, of the immigrant experience, and the ability to start a new life in a new land. Using the unique colors of the bassoon and contrabassoon, there is a conversation between these two instruments as they explore how an orange tree “out there, behind that old, abandoned garden wall” reminds us of an orange tree planted in a distant land before coming to this new place.

The ranges of both instruments are explored in this working, using the power of the contrabassoon’s low range and the beauty of the bassoon’s upper range to showcase these instruments’ dynamic colors.  The opening line of the work represents the theme of the orange tree and returns throughout the work as a reminder of the orange tree planted in a different land and time. Within the work the instruments often change places, with the contrabassoon moving higher than the bassoon’s line, showcasing the abilities of not only the instruments but the performers for which the work was written.  The instruments dance and weave, at times passing fast double-tongued lines back and forth, while at other times playing legato lines of remembrance.

The contrabassoon has a featured solo section in the work representing the line “so beautiful it makes us remember that orange tree we planted in our earth.” The low, resonant line from the Contrabassoon represents the earth and the memories it carries with it.  As the line rises, the bassoon joins again, creating a spacious, and at times, meditative state of reverence and memory.

This work was commissioned by Leigh Muñoz and Lia Uribe of Contra+Bassoon.

Premiered during the International Double Reed Society 2nd Virtual Symposium: https://www.idrs.org/events/an-orange-tree-a-new-work-for-contrabassoon-2/

All of Jenni’s compositions are available for purchase on her website Home – Jenni Brandon https://www.jennibrandon.com


Central Michigan University, School of Music
1200 S. Franklin St
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859 United States
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