The Juniper Tree (for solo multiple percussion)
Composed by Eric Pazdziora
From the story by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
Performed by Nomi Marcus
“The Juniper Tree” (Von dem Machandelboom) is a German folktale, most memorably retold by the Brothers Grimm. The story weaves its enchantment from a strange blend of Christian and pre-Christian spiritual imagery around a ghastly premise: A jealous mother murders her son, then deceives her daughter into cooking the corpse into a stew, which she serves for dinner to his unsuspecting father. But the sister buries her brother’s bones under a Juniper tree, where he is reborn as a white bird that sings the story of his death and transformation. The song prompts those who hear it to give the bird gifts that ultimately aid him in defeating his evil mother and reconciling with his father and sister.
The bird’s song in my own adaptation is the textual basis of this setting for solo multiple percussion. The storytelling rhythms of the words are transformed and repeated through contrasting instruments chosen for warmth and resonance, depicting the child’s journey through betrayal, death, resurrection, and reconciliation.
Crotales (1 octave)
2 Thai Nipple Gongs
Small Basket Shaker
For more information, contact the composer.