Jenni Brandon’s “Three Desert Fables for solo oboes” Performed by Jennifer Cavanaugh

desert fables oboe

Jennifer Cavanaugh (oboe), Margaret Baldridge (violin) and Christopher Hahn (piano) performed Jenni Brandon’s “Three Desert Fables for solo oboes” March 12, 2019, 7:30 PM at the University of Montana, Music Recital Hall975 Maurice Ave, Missoula, MT 59812, USA.

Dr. Jennifer Gookin Cavanaugh, oboist and Professor of Music (Double Reeds & Theory), joined the School of Music faculty at the University of Montana in August of 2009. Dr. Cavanaugh is proud to be a Yamaha Performing Artist. She is frequently invited to perform solo and chamber music recitals throughout the United States, and she is currently the principal English horn player with the Missoula Symphony Orchestra. She regularly performs principal oboe and/or English horn duties with organizations such as the String Orchestra of the Rockies and the Yakima Symphony Orchestra. While a faculty member, at Central Michigan University, Dr. Cavanaugh was a member of the Powers Woodwind Quintet.

Three Desert Fables for solo oboe tells the story of the unique relationship between the Joshua trees found in the Mojave Desert and the Yucca moth. The Joshua tree relies on the moth for pollination, and the moth lays her eggs in the flowers of the Joshua tree where the larvae live off of the yucca seeds. In fact, one cannot survive without the other, and this relationship is much like a fable, making this a wonderful story to tell as a solo for oboe.

The Joshua tree is dance-like and angular, its branches twisting and gnarled. In contrast the moth is fluid and lyrical, flying to the highest flowers of the Joshua tree to lay her eggs and to pollinate the white flowers of the tree. In the final section of the piece the Joshua tree and the moth dance together, relying on each other for their survival in the harshness of the desert. This piece was written in collaboration with oboists Ryan Zwahlen of the Definiens Project and Laura Medisky at the University of Wisconsin.