Soul Cry (de Stâmparare)

for solo oboe

Emma-Ruth Richards

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for solo oboe

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Composer Emma-Ruth Richards
Year of Composition 2012
Duration ca.4'
Student Difficulty int-adv
Categories (all composers) ,
Catalogue ID ce-err1ds1


de Stâmparare roughly translates from Romanian into English as ‘soul cry’. The piece is based on an anonymous Romanian folk song called Hora Spoitorilor; the theme can be heard in full right at the end of the piece. The piece reflects some of the characteristics of the doina; a freerhythm, highly melismatic, ornamented tune; peasant doinas are mostly vocal and often include interjections such as choked sobbing effects and are often sung in solitude with melancholic themes. Doinas have an important psychological action to ‘ease one’s soul’ (de Stâmpǎrare) or as an invocation to God to help ease pain.

In writing this piece I was particularly interested in how I could use a single line to create space through its gestural activity and in doing so, give the impression of straining, crying out towards something. The sustained notes develop out of gestural activity and in the higher register of the oboe have a quasi-vocal, human sonority similar to that of a soprano voice or trumpet in the clarino register. When listening to these sustained tones on the oboe they seem to have a visceral presence and in order to emphasise this, I have used pitch-bending to enrich the poignancy of this ‘imperfect’, human quality: a cry from the soul.