Tanz des Herbst (The Dance of Autumn)    2009

     for soprano, flute, violin, guitar, and piano

Jedes Jahr im Herbst

werden die Wälder lebendig

um vor dem Sterben zu tanzen!


Sieh, die wirbelnden Blätter!

Die zu Boden gehen

Wie die träumenden Kinder

Könn’ die Farben drehen

Sie tanzen durch Tag und in der Nacht

Die Wind sie wild behandelt

Bis Morgen das träumende Kinde aufwacht

Das ganze Welt ist verwandelt!


Jedes Jahr im Herbst

werden die Wälder lebendig

um vor dem Sterben

um vor dem Schlafen

zu tanzen!


     - Anonymous Text


“Tanz des Herbst” was composed for the soundSCAPE 2009 sound, composition, and performance exchange in Pavia, Italy.  It was my first experience composing for guitar and my first time setting German text for voice.


I was immediately impressed with the symbols of turning leaves and colors in this text, which really embody the fall spirit.  I wanted my setting to reflect the transformations of color and graceful swooshes of wind that make the leaves, well – dance!  Although the text does acknowledge that it really is the death of the leaves that makes them change color and fall of the trees, it demonstrates that death is nothing more than a cause for celebration of life.  After all, spring is just around the corner…


Excerpt performed by Claire DiVizio, soprano, Anne Dearth, flute, Zoë Aqua, violin, Marc LeMay, guitar, and Donia Jarrar, piano, with Langston Hemmenway conducting.

Every year in autumn

the woodlands come alive

before they die to dance!


See, the swirling leaves!

As they fall to the ground

Like dreaming children

These colors turn

The dance throughout the day and in the night

The wind makes them wild

Until morning, when the dreaming child awakens

The whole world has changed!


Every year in autumn

the woodlands come alive

before they die

before they sleep

to dance!


     - Translation by Kathryn Mueller

For sheet music, please contact me .