David Kechley

The Skylark Sings


Innova 257


Transformations: An Orchestral Triptych

  1. Still on the Edge             5:19
  2. Funeral Music with Dance 9:19
  3. Past Refrains      3:53


  1. Tuahku: A Dark Samba for Orchestra          9:19


The Skylark Sings

  1. Skylarks
  2. Fireflies
  3. Starlight Night
  4. Magic Mushrooms
  5. Scarecrows
  6. The Giant Tortoise
  7. Quiet Birds


Orchestra and Chorus of the New England Conservatory

Richard Hoenich, conductor

Thomasa Eckert, soprano







in its use of the orchestra. Funeral Music with Dance introduces a somber march-like character, which is later juxtaposed against a waltz-like dance as it moves toward its cathartic and somewhat dark climax. Past Refrains is a lyrical, relaxed and brief 


˝fireflyţ sounds are spaced by rests of 5-7-5 values resulting in what seem like random occurrences. A similar structure is used in Starlight Night and the opening and closing harp passages of Scarecrows are each 17 notes long. There is also a thematic  


re, ranging from pre-Bach to contemporary music.

New England Conservatory, the only music school in America to be designated a National Historic Landmark, was founded in 1867. Recognized nationally and internationally as a leading music school, the college program instructs more than 820 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral music students from around the workd, and has a faculty of 200 artist-teachers. Through its Preparatory School, School of Continuing Education, and Community Service Programs for pre-co the best known symbol of the Pacific Northwest where the composer was living at the time he conceived and completed most of the piece. Tuahku must have been an inspiration for people living near it for hundreds if not thousands of years. As a dormant (note mountain wind.


(The Skylark)

Its song has fallen to earth but

The skylark is invisible.



The breeeeountain wind.


(The Skylark)

Its song has fallen to earth but

The skylark is invisible.



The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.

            Don═t go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.

            Don═t go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill

            where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.

            Don═t go back to sleep.


II. Fireflies


Lo! the fireflies are afraid of

Their reflections in the water.


III. Starlight Night

(A Starlit Night)

It is a starlight night;

How high, how large, the stars.




Late, by myself, in the boat of myself,

no light and no land anywhere,

cloudcover thick. I try to stay

just above the surface, yet I═m already under

and living within the ocean.


(Excerpt from A Night for Departure)

. . . Beneath thiii.

This magic mountain must have flown toward the ocean:

how could the Hanging Gardens have grown here in the sky?

The Bright Spirit beams down its rays

            to Yellow Gold Hall;

the Southern Dipper hangs high above

            the Palace of the Red Emperor.

Carefully cou dead) volcano, this deceptively-peaceful snow-capped landmark has its dark and threatening side as it conceals tremendous power and energy far below.

The   kylark Sings is a continuous cycle of seven songs for soprano and orchestra, with the addition ofs water-wheel of stars

your sleep has been heavy.

Observe that heaviness and beware...

for life is fragile and quick.

Heart, aim yourself at Love!

Friend, discover the Friend!

Watchman, wake-up!

You weren═t put here to sleep! . . .



I a chorus in     the final song. The work draws upon texts from several seemingly disparate sources, all of which share lyricism and imagery, and sets them in a kind of musical painting for orchestra. The texts reflect the many interests and talents of thcV. Magic Mushrooms

(On a Painting of Mushrooms)

A single rock from Cinnabar Hill

and glisttering on it: mushrooms of five colors!

Eat them and you will grow wings.

Swallow them-they are good for your complexion.

                        Yun Shou-P═ing4

(Inscribed on a Painting))and imagery, and sets them in a kind of musical painting for orchestra. The texts reflect the many interests and talents of the com

Magic mists twirl through the sky;

the sounds of nature are heard in the silence

Why go searching for herbs of immortality?

You can eat these white clouds for breakfast!

                        Yun Shou-P═ing

(A Mushroom Gatherer Deep in the Mountains Among White Clouds)

ThhThposer═s brother Peter, who passed away tragically of leukemia in 1994. The work was written especially for his widow, soprano Thomasa Eckert.

Peter Kechley was an accomplished poet, singer, acupuncturist, homeopathic doctor, black belt in Aikido, and a Russian literature scholar. The Skylark Sings is dedicated as a lasting tribute to his memory.

I. Skylarks is based on six Japanese haiku about skylarks followed by a quatrain of Jalal-ud-din-Rumi tere is a seasonal reference, in this case, skylarks are assocted with spring.

II. Fireflies consists of 2 haiku about fireflies, a clear reference to summer. The orchestral texture creates a setting in which a field of fireflies and other insects can be heard and one can even imagine the ˝reflections in the water.ţe.

  or the more technically minded, there are many underlying structures not easily heard, but which are responsible for the overall character of the music. Many of these involve a kind of ˝musical haikuţ structure. The haiku in Japanese poetry consists 

V. Scarecrows

(The Death Verse)

One leaf flutters down in the wind;

Another leaf drifts down, alas!


(The Leaves)

TTTe fallen leaves have sunk and settled

Upon a rock below the water.



The autumn is advanced

And scarecrows are

III. Starlight Night  combines a haiku with several more texts by Rumi. Jalal-ud-din-Rumi, who lived during the thirteenth century and is considered one of Persia═s greatest mystical poets. His work often contains strong images in addition to philosophical and religious meanings. The common images are night, the stars and the ocean. The haiku in this case may refer to autumn.

IV. Magic Mushrooms sets three Chinese poems allms allore rhythmic

IV. Magic Mushrooms which sets three Chinese poems alloems allelling the ˝secretsţ of the ˝breeze at dawnţ. As with all haiku there is a seasonal reference, in this case, skylarks are associa?

boding ground swells, and brass chorales superimposed over a constant samba rhythm. Tuahku means sky wiper. It is a approximation of the Native American,  for that place which is now widely known as

Mt. Rainier. This majestic peak of 14,000 feet is probabof 17 syllables in three 3 phrases of 5, 7 and 5 respectively. A musical structure analogous to this is followed in each of the haiku settings throughout the work. In the first song, Skylarks, the driving, underlying rhythm at the opening is constructeddddinvolved. It first appears in Skylarks as the setting of Rumi with the words the ˝The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.ţ It is later developed by the brass in the work═s only instrumental interlude. This interlude is also the introduction to the penuLushootseed word, xwăaq═w for that place which is now widely known as Mt. Rainier. This majestic peak of 14,410 feet is probablyy?

o╦he fallen leaves have sunk and settled

Upon a rock below the water.



The autumn is advanced

And scarecrows are c

 of rhythmic phrases (5-7-5 quarter note lengths) created by accents in the vibraphone, harp and marimba that create cross rhythms to the basic 12/8 meter. For Fireflies the entire length of each setting is

17 measures and the interjections of the variouslad in dead leaves.


VI. The Giant Tortoise

(At Dawn, Climbing the Heavenly Pillar Peak of Mysterious Mountain)

I shake my robe-and mists disperse, leaving clear autumn sky:

from the top most peak, I can see ten thousand miles

            into empty distanceeContinuing Education, and Community Service Programs for pre-college students, adults, and seniors, NEC offers a complete music curriculum. Educated as complete musicians, NEC alumni fill Orchestral Triptych, A

Tuahku, B

The Skylark Sings, C


Taguchi, Minako, A*B*C

Werst, Michelle, A


Contra Bassoon

Standley, Micah, A


Alto Saxophone

Carroll, Ian, A


Soprano Saxophone

Lin, Chien-Kwan, A



Ansvananda, Supreeti, B

Howarth, Anne, A*B*

Jaques, Jill, AC

Lintz, Elizbeth, C*

Miller, Ellen, AC

Shaud, Daniel, C

Sheiman, Michelle, B

Suarez, Alberto, AB



Foneseca, Glaucio, B*

Gettel, M. Gregory, C*

Leyser, Janine, AC

Lyman, Zachary, A*

Resky, Ryan, B

Tistaert, Stephen, A

Tucker, Nancy, AB

Vismantas, Eric, C



Baker, Jonathan, C

Laczko,nt the peaks: there are thirty-six;

every morning, they seem to clap their hands for joy

            like the giant tortoise of paradise.

                        Hsii Chung-hsing4         

VII. Quiet Birds

(A Silvery World)

The snow has taken all the fields

And hills, and nothing has been left...



Do not stand at my grave and weep

I am not there. I do not sleep.


I am a thousand winds that blow.

I am the diamond glint on snow.


I am the sunlight on ripened grain.

I am the gentle autumn rain.


When you wake in the morning hush


Norbert, B

Nova, James, B*C*

Ostrander, Phillip, A*C

Wharton, Jennifer, A

Wright, Bron, AB



Liquori, David, C

Montgomery, Randy, B

Redondo, Jose, A



Condon, Owen, B

Del Campo, Rhett, C

Guldborg, Thomas, A

Kiamie, Phillip, B*C

Rubinshteyn, which were originally inscribed on paintings depicting mushroom hunting in the mountains. 

V. Scarecrows consists of three haiku that refer to autumn. The first, called the Death Verse (jisei) is customarily a haiku written by a person on his deathbed. 


y Asataro Miyamori, Copyright 1932 by Asataro Miyamori

2          Quatrain (#12) translated by John Moyne and Coleman Barks from Open Secret, Threshold Books, RD 4 Box 600 Putney VT                       05346

3          Quatrain (#91) translated by John Moyne and Coleman Barks from rks from VI. The Giant Tortoise is a single Chinese poem refering to several mythical places such as Mysterious Mountain, the Hanging Gardens and to the giant tortoise, a mythical ocean creature on whose huge back the three mountain-islands of pountain-islands of paradise were said to be supported.  

VII. Quiet Birds takes its title from the Native American prayer which is the second text of the song. The prayer is preceded by the final haiku of the work, which describes a beautiful, but desolate winter scennr scenInhaling the haze-the skylarks


(The Skylark)

See how the skylark vies

With the spring wind in strength.


(The Skylarks)

Lo! The larks are hidden

In the cloudless blue sky


(The Skylark)

The lark has drifted far away

Blown by thTimur, A

Spirtas, John, C*

Trant, Aaron, A*

Uzzi, Michael, B



Del Campo, Rhett, A

Millstein, Eric, C

Spirtas, John, B



Kellgreen, Heather, ABC



D═Amato, Alison, A

Ferrigno, Nina, C

Park, Jong-Gyung, B



Adkins, Madeline, A



reference from The Golden Lion, an opera by the composerŇs father, Gerald Kechley. This theme which first occurs in the last scene of Act I denotes inner strength and courage in the face of an inevitable tragedy beyond the control of the individuals uals  stra chairs, concert hall stages, jazz clubs, and recording studios worldwide.

Performance Personnel

Transformations: An

ŠŠOrchestral Triptych, A

Tuahku, B

The Skylark Sings, C


Jane, C

Miller, Paul, C

Muresanu, Irina, B*C*

Nagano, Aki, BC

Ohazama, Aki, C

Pegis, Monica, AB

Perez-Espejo, Miguel, AC

Rashad, Mona, BC

Schweigart, Stephanie, BC

Smith, Jaime, C

Su, Hsin-Yi, A

Tsai, Hsin-Lin, A

Varney, Betsey, A

Yeh, Geoffrey, A*B**



Babic, Nikola, B

Chang, I-Ting, A*

Chong, Rosa, B

Christensen, Elisabeth, BC*

Chuang, Meng-hsun, A

Duckles, Andrew, B*C

Hurd, William, AB

Kang, Soojung, A

King, Stephen, C

Kwon, Hyun-Jo, A

Linkin, Heather, C

Paetkau, Eric, C

Pesky, John, C

Sichova, Alic *



Shin, Donna, A*B*

Ta, Jin, C*

Vasudevan, Sujatha, B

Wagner, Stephanie, C

Yoneyama, Masumi, A



McEntire, Jeremy, A

Morejon, Anthony, B



Bornander, Anna, B

Kapner, Miriam, B

Loupe, Jennifer, A

Paine, Amanda, A*B*

Sugihara, Kenichiro, C*


English Horn

Jeffrey, Sarah, A

Hida, Kyoko, C


Byun, Hyun-jo, B

Chandra, Bharat, C*

Esterman, Dania, AB*

Hadesbeck, Robert, A*

Yamaguchi, Sachiko, B

Yeh, Min-Ho, C


Bass Clarinet

Verinder, Lisa, A



Ban, Shuichi, B

McGrath, Robert, BC**ng, C

McCarty, Justin, A

Parks, Moragh, BC

Wei, Hsueh-Fen, B*C



Aldea Venegas, Cindy-Kim, C

Cary, Julia, C

Dahlke, Jonathan, C

Fandrei, Graham Michael, C

Garcia, Monica, C

Goetz, Todd, C

Goff, Terence, C

Grohman, Byron T., C

Jajko, Angela, C

Jarvis, Aynsley, C

Kim, Sol V, C

Lebron, Stephen, C

McCary, John P, C

McGaha, Daniel J., C

Montalbano, Maren, C

Mundell, Lamont W., C

Nadeau, Sarah, C

Perez, Jossie , C

Pugsley, Richard, C

Slovacek, Kira, C

Weeks, Arianne Rice, C


Chorus prepared by John Della Veau, Sarah, C

Perez, Jossie , C

Pugsley, Richard, C

Slovacek, Kira, C

Weeks, Arianne Rice, C


Chorus prepared by

John Della Vecchia


iltimate song, The Giant Tortoise, which describes ˝. . . Climbing the Heavenly Pillar Peak of Mysterious Mountain.ţ

I. Skylarks

(The Skylark)

The skylark sings

Making ripples in the clouds


(Soaring Skylarks)

How they soar, treading on the clouds,kert  has performed for over 20 years as a solo recitalist, actress, choir conductor, and music director. Specializing in 20th-century music, she has premiered new works and performed contemporary music in concert and on radio in the U.S., Canada, and EuroLove is a Stranger, Threshold Books, RD 4 Box 600 Putney   VT 05346  

4          Excerpt from A Night for Departure translated by John Moyne and Coleman Barks from Love is a Stranger, Threshold Books,                       RD 4 Box 600 Putney VT 05346  

5          Chinese Poems from TTTfrom T

he Columbia Book of Later Chinese Poetry translated by Jonathan Chaves, Copyright 1986 by Columbia University Press  

6          Native American poem translated by Joyce Fossen from Earth Prayers from Around the World edited by Elizabeth Roberts and          Elias Amidon, Harper Collins Publishers.


Richard Hoenich has been director of the NEC orchestra program since 1992. A native Canadian, he became assistant conductor of the Montreal Symphony in 1985, after being named finalist at the Geneva International Conducting C At this point the ˝marchţ reappears underneath and is itself transformed as it grows to its intensely lyrical climax. The origins of the two outer panels represent another kind of transformation since they first existed as chamber works, wks wrks works wwrecast in the more complex medium of the orchestra. This might be analogous to black and white drawings or sketches being developed into detailed and fully colored paintings. They each came from a different saxophone ensemble work and the additiohe additio  ransformations: An Orchestral Triptych (1998) is modelled on a triptych painting which has a center ˝panelţ as the expressive focus and two side panels slightly smaller in scope. Still on the Edge is fast and furious, but transparent and economicalicaliomelodic statement interspersed with several restless wanderings.


The word Transformations holds many meanings. The most obvious is the metamorphoses of various thematic ideas from one movement to the next and within each movement. The fast fasttt fastttttt scale figures in the opening woodwinds of the first piece appear later as the ˝funeral marchţ which opens the second movement. The slow dance which follows the ˝marchţ in the second movement moves faster and faster until it becomes a ˝surrealistic waltzţ.ompetition. Richard Hoenich guest conducts every major Canadian orchestra, and makes frequent appearances in the US, most notably as a guest of the New World Symphony Orchestra in Miami, and with the Boston Symphony Chamber Players. Overseas, he has conducSkylark Sings


Solo appearances include performances with Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony, the Berkshire Symphony, the Vancouver New Music Society, Steve Reich, the Paul Dresher Ensemble, and the Washington Composer═s Forum. She has also performed with the  

Oakland Symphony; the San Francisco Opera; the National Radios of Spain, Holland, and Belgium; the Bach and Mozart Festival de l═Est Varois, and the International Chamber Music Festival in Munich. Recordings include: Nightsongs by Paul Dresher (New Albion ted at the Salle Pleyel and Chatelet Theatre in Paris, and recently made his debut with the Madrid Symphony Orchestra at the historic Zarzuela Theatre in Madrid. In 1990, he began a regular association with several South American orchestras, including the Records); Atlas Eclipticalis/Winter Music by John Cage (Mode Records), and Thunder Like A White Bear Dancing by Janice Giteck (New Albion Records).

  he New England Conservatory Symphony Orchestra  was founded in 1902 by George W. Chadwick and has been an National Orchestra of Argentina, following a triumphant debut appearance at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires leading the Jeunesses Musicales World Youth Orchestra.

A graduate of the Curtis Institute and former principal bassoonist of the Montreal Symphony,tegral part of Boston═s musical life ever since. Directed by Richard Hoenich, the NECSO gives 13_15 concerts each year in NEC═s Jordan Hall and on tour. The orchestra provides training in standard repertoire, as well as in less frequently explored literatu, Van, C

Arpiainen, Laura, A

Auclair-Fortier, Melanie, AB

Bard, Ania, B

Barrie, Matthew, C

Cash, Julia, B

Chen, Mei-Ann, C

Chow, Marlena, ABC

Day, Christina, B

Duitman, Elayna, B

Faulkner, Carlough, A

Galluzo, Jacqueline, C**

Gamo, Ayaka, A

Givelber, Leah, ABC

Hilsinger, Aaron, A

Holland, John, A

Hurd, William, C

Ishii, Atsuko, C

Jung, Yoo-mi, B

Kang, Eun-Hee, C

Khosrowpour, Iman, AB

Kim, Nelly, A**

Kotake, Ritsu, AC

Kwong, York, BC

Lai, Chia-Chi, AB

Lee, Eun-Young, A

Li, I-Ching, ABC

McRae, an, AC

McRae,  e white clouds beyond the sky-

            this must be your home.

Both cheeks slightly red, a diet of cinnabar!

But Don═t expect any magic mushrooms

            to give you immortality;

you═re wasting your time, digging with

ŠŠyour spade,

            damaging the purple mist.

            Hsu Wei

e, C

Suslowicz, Lisa, B

Tsai, Andy, A

Tsai, Yun-Yi, AC

Yum, Eun-Hwa, B



Agnarsson, Sigurgeir, AC

Balfe, Kathleen, A*B

Chen, Ellen, C

Dyball, Melanie, AB*

Endo, Ken, B

Freeman, Veronica, B

Haman, Walter, C*

Hew, Feng, B

Hsieh, Ya-Wen, AB

Jung, Julie, A

Law, Wendy, A

Li, Bo, C

Neven, Jan Bastiaan, B

Peled, Amit, A

Smith, Gwendolyn, C

Whittington, Tahirah, C

Wise, Erica, A



Boasson, Ora, A*

Burns, Christopher, C*

D═Amico, Tony, B

Heller, Matthew, A

Howell, Devin, AB

Johnson, Daniel, BC

Lee, Chang-HyuŇx

2n of a soprano and alto saxophone to the woodwind section is a lasting reminder of this.



  uahku: A Dark Samba for Orchestra (1997) is a ˝crossoverţ piece which features angular woodwind lines, fast fiddling, bright and shimmering textures, dark and fore Mr. Hoenich studied conducting with Charles Dutoit, Gustav Meier, and Charles Bruck. He received conducting fellowships from the Tanglewood Music Center and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute, where he worked with such musicians as Leonard


   homasa  Tanglewood Music Center and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute, where he worked with such musicians as Leonard Bernstein, Kurt Masur, Seiji Ozawa, Andr_ Previn and Michael Tilson Thomas.


   homasa Ec

am the swift uplifting rush

of quiet birds in circling flight. 

I am the soft starlight at night.


Do not stand at my grave and weep.

I am not there. I do not sleep.

                        Native American6           


1          Haiku from An Anthology of Haiku Ancient and Modern translated bbbw Albion Records).

   he New England Conservatory Symphony Orchestra  was founded in 1902 by George W. Chadwick and has been an inn_


Amid the singing insects

The fireflies shine in silence.



recognized as ˝a major talentţ in his 1983 debut at the Hollywood Bowl, Canadian Richard Hoenich has garnered critical acclaim and widespread recognition as one of his country═s most sought-after conductors. While principal bassoon with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montr_al (OSM), his conducting gifts caught the attention of Charles Dutoit. In 1985, after being named a finalist at the Geneva International Conducting Competition, Mr. Hoenich became Assistant Conductor of the OSM.

From 1982 to 1986, Mr. Hoenich was Conductor and Artistic Director of the McGill University Symphony Orchestra. During his tenure, the orchestra produced a critically acclaimed recording featuring the Canadian contralto, Maureen Forrester. This recording received a Special Mention for ˝Best Orchestral Recordingţ, as well as for ˝Best Recording of Canadian Musicţ by the Canadian

Music Council.

Richard Hoenich studied conducting with Leonard Bernstein, Kurt Masur, Gustav Meier, Seiji Ozawa, Andre Previn and Michael Tilson Thomas. He has been Director of Orchestral Activities and music director of the New England Conservatory Symphony Orchestra since 1992.