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By R. Douglas Helvering

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Mandatus composed by R. Douglas Helvering. For oboe, mezzo-soprano, piano. Level 5. Duration 6 minutes. Published by Imagine Music (IG.CMW111).

Poetry by Pam Winn. The inspiration for the musical content of this work comes directly from the poetry of the composer's friend and poet Pam Winn. The poetry gives a highly romantic view of the passing of the seasons. More specifically, Pam gives us a nature-bound account of the coming of spring out of the doldrums of winter. With the wonderful poetry in mind, the composer has crafted Mandatus, a da capo aria for oboe, mezzosoprano, and piano. The music is written in a style that owes its content to an extended romanticism. The form of the piece, as a da capo aria, remains intact. However, the composer has added a prelude and postlude to the work. These unique sections seek to depict the two seasons alluded to in the poetry both sonically and visually. The prelude's piano part visually spells the word dead while the oboe's part represents trees with bare limbs. In a similar manner, the postlude's piano part visually spells the word alive while the oboe's part depicts two birds of spring bound together through love, thus depicting the rejuvenation of life that occurs when spring has conquered winter. Oboist Dr. Margaret Marco, Mezzo-Soprano Catherine Ratliff, and pianist Ellen Bottorff performed the premiere of Mandatus at the Midwest Double Reed Society's 2008 conference in Lawrence, KS. This piece will be performed this May at the 2011 International Double Reed Society Conference in Tempe, Arizona.

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