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Women of the Wind: Brandon: Three Desert Fables

We got our recording back!  And I am so pleased with the way it came out.  I would love to just stream the whole thing, but one thing that did not come across was our speaking.  Most of it was cut out, and what you can hear is dim and unclear.  What I’ll do, then, is share one work at a time, and include my introductory material to give it some context. 

The composer Jenni Brandon lives in Southern California.  I first heard of her at the Double Reed convention last summer when a friend of mine played her reed trio.  I thought that the piece was spectacular and got in touch with her- and she promptly sent it to me along with this solo work, Three Desert Fables, which I am proud to present here.

The piece is about symbiotic relationships shared in the biome of the desert.  The first movement explores the Joshua tree itself and its partner the yucca moth.  The moth lays its eggs in the tree's flowers, and the larvae feed upon its seeds, but the moth also serves to pollinate the tree so the two species live together in harmony.  In this work you will hear the Joshua tree, “angular and gnarly”, followed by the moth, "free and majestic".  The two themes then interweave, in a dance of survival.

A chuckwalla is a lizard, and the rock in this movement is not exactly a dynamic character.  The piece is about all of the things the rock represents to the lizard.  First, of course, it radiates heat, so the lizard basking on it is warmed both by the sun and by the rock.  Secondly, it is the surface on which the chuckwalla travels, skittering from place to place.  And this lizard has a trick of crawling into a crevice and then taking rapid breaths to puff itself up and wedge itself in tightly, so nobody can pull him out and eat him.  So in that way the rock also represents protection from predators. 

The Ocotillo cactus is pollinated by the carpenter bees who feed off its nectar.  In this desert waltz you’ll hear the long delicately waving arms of the ocotillo plant, and you won’t miss the bee.

Many thanks to Jenni Brandon for this lovely piece, which I truly enjoyed learning and performing.

Three Desert Fables by Jenni Brandon
Jennet Ingle, oboe

The Joshua Tree and the Moth

The Rock and the Chuckwalla

The Ocotillo and the Bee


  1. Lovely playing and very interesting pieces--thanks for sharing! Next year our music department is committed to presenting a "Year of Inclusivity," with a goal of ensembles & recital programs consisting of at least 50 % of the music from traditionally underrepresented populations (women/ minorities). I'm very much looking forward to this artistic challenge and your sound files are really helpful in my search for pieces! Question--where can one purchase the McCormick piece? I really enjoyed the structure and would like to perform it. Best wishes, Christa Garvey

  2. Thank you, Christa!

    I've sent you an email with Dana McCormick's contact info - feel free to poke me again if you need more details!




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