Goldfish Songs, by Jenni Brandon, was performed by Michelle Matsumune on Music at Noon from the Friends of Music at Pasadena Presbyterian Church on June 9, 2021. This performance may be viewed on YouTube at Michelle Matsumune, flute – YouTube.
Goldfish Songs was written at the request of flutist Danielle Hundley, a member of the Cincinnati new music ensemble Conundrum. She has always loved fancy goldfish (and in fact movement three is named after her Ryukin goldfish Bela) and imagined a work for flute about some of these beautiful fish. We collaborated on this project to create four short, descriptive movements about a select variety of fancy goldfish, choosing these particular goldfish because of their unique attributes.
I. Pearlscale: A flash in the sunlight
The Pearlscale Goldfish is a variety characterized by pearl‐like nodules on the surface of its scales. As he swims, his scales pick up reflections of sunlight, creating a creature that shines and shimmers like a jewel under the water.
II. Celestial: Looking heavenward…
The Celestial Goldfish has a very unique feature—its eyes are positioned atop its head. This gives this goldfish the look of praying, or looking towards the heavens. This prayer-like quality is reflected in the ghostly harmonics played by the flute in this movement.
III. Ryukin: “Bela”*
The Ryukin is an extremely agile goldfish variety. Its stout belly and well‐formed fins make it an excellent swimmer, and this movement is fast and furious like these little swimmers.
IV. Lionhead: The Gentle Giant
The Lionhead is known as the “puppy‐dog” of goldfish; this slow-moving giant is infamous for becoming tame enough to eat out of your hand. In this movement for alto flute the Lionhead swims gently through the water, singing a peaceful song.
*Performed by Greg Milliren. On the CD Songs of California: Music for Winds and Piano
Goldfish Songs is available for purchase at Jenni Brandon’s website Goldfish Songs for solo flute/alto flute – Jenni Brandon