Loons (1997)

Poem by Hugh Ogden. Premiered by the Pittsburg State University Choir on November 14, 1997 at McCray Auditorium at PSU.

Program notes:

Hugh Ogden (1937-2006) lived in Glastonbury, Connecticut and taught writing at Trinity College prior to his death on December 31, 2006 in Maine. I met him in October, 1995 during a residency at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire, where I accompanied his poetry reading. I chose the poem, Loons from his book, Two Roads and this Spring to set for choir. The poems in this book are virtually all reflections on the tragic loss of a friend. Ogden writes: "Annette Wicks was an artist and bioenergetic therapist. She lived in Rome and for six years we spent summers together in Oquossoc, Maine. She died in a car accident on 18 June 1987. This book is for her and for Tania, Chicca and Peppi, her daughters." Ogden's love for jazz inspired me to draw upon its instrumental colors and rich harmonic palette for the music to "Loons." It was written for the Pittsburg State University Choir and dedicated to its director Susan Marchant.



Down the darkened lake the rain is
rippling and on the aluminum roof
it patters, then a blues-muted fall

or is it loneliness or love that
makes such a spherical sound, such
a quivering over Oquossoc in the rain

at night and then an echo like
the opening of silk in a hallway
after that flute-blue heart-stopping

call: Ooauuu, Oooauuuuu, a pure tenor
sax sliding above, the bass under,
not in pain but over the rain running

lake, Dear Lord, Dear, Dear Lord
this is the way things are,
the endlessness of remembering how

you listened to the lonely cry
of a loon, water dripping from the eaves
into peat, heard another answering

as he swam under the cedar lying
horizontal out over the lake so
that it's more than loneliness and love,

missing you, like Coltrane playing
from the open reed of his heart,
the loons from the lower waters:

Ooauuu, Oooauuuuu.

Text is ©1993 by Hugh Ogden (visit the poet's website)

Visit my Hugh Ogden Remembrance page

© by Evan Hause, BMI. All Rights Reserved.

Score and parts for sale from the Composer.

Recording personnel:

Pittsburg State University Choir and students, Susan Marchant, director
Todd Hastings - Trumpet