Black Bull of Norroway (Soprano + Chamber Ensemble)

Poem by Jane Yolen, © 2016
Music by Eric Pazdziora, © 2017

1. East of the Sun
2. West of the Moon
3. Second Star to the Right
4. Straight On Until Morning

Vivian Wang, Soprano
Yao Lin, Piano
Pyero Talone, Flute
Patrick Lill, Clarinet
Gray Dickerson, Violin
Katie McCarthy, Cello

Program Notes

The Scottish fairy tale Black Bull of Norroway embodies a cross-cultural folktale type also found in such diverse stories as “Cupid and Psyche,” “The Sprig of Rosemary,” “East of the Sun, West of the Moon,” and “Beauty and the Beast.” In each tale a young woman finds herself married to a strange creature, only to discover at night that he is a man under enchantment. When he is stolen away from her, she must perform several magical tasks to search for him before he can be restored. 

Jane Yolen’s haunting poem simultaneously invokes and deconstructs the tale of the Black Bull, drawing intertextual images and phrases from many tales and traditions, but using the story to reflect on the reality that even a fairy tale may end tragically. My musical setting plays with shifting meters and modal counterpoint to create both a sense of imagined folklore and an emotional narrative of love and bereavement.

For more information, contact the composer.

AuthorEric Pazdziora

Composer, Author, Pianist

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