Prairie Love Song
Review from The Choral Journal, March, 1994
This setting of a Chinese folk song from the Chin Hai province is very simple to perform. It begins with a fourteen-measure ABB melody for soprano and tenor soloists in canon, accompanied by a rather static mixed ensemble (tenors occasionally divide). When the chorus takes over the melody, the writing is four-part homophonic style, with some short, independent lines near the end of the verse. More effective than the choral accompaniment is the arranger's use of percussion (small gong, finger cymbals, and hand drum), as well as two wood flutes (notated respectively in treble and bass clef), whose primary function is to double the soloists and provide a descant to the tutti choral sections. Performance instructions are limited; while suggestions are given as to substitute instrumentation, no pronunciation guide is provided for the Chinese text (there are no English lyrics, but a literal translation is provided). The primary strength of this piece is the beauty of the folk melody itself.
Note: The lack of a pronunciation guide was corrected in subsequent printings.
Review by Michael Braz
Review from The Choral Journal, May, 1994
This arrangement of a Chinese folk song from the Chin-Hai province is a wonderful spring concert selection for high school and advanced junior high school choral ensembles. Vocal ranges are rather limited (soprano, e1 to g2; alto, b-flat to c2; tenor, e to e-flat1; and bass, G to b-flat), and the tessitura is comfortable in all voices. The two solo parts (soprano, e1 to e-flat2; and tenor, c to e-flat1) are presented in canon and produce a lovely effect. The instrumental accompaniment, which is needed for performance, consists of wood flutes (soprano and bass) and percussion (gong, finger cymbals, and hand drums). A literal English translation is provided in the preface; however, a phonetic pronunciation guide of the Chinese text would have been helpful. This is a wonderful arrangement for introducing young musicians to Chinese music.
Review by James Cox