Bayu, Bayushki, Bayu
( s a t b + piano, four hands )
For the Salt Lake Choral Artists: Brady Allred, Artistic Director.
First performance given 20 February 2015 at St. Ambrose Church, Salt Lake City by Salt Lake Choral Artists; Brady Allred, conductor; Laurel Palmer and Leslie Anderson, piano.
When I was approached to write an arrangement of a lullaby from anywhere around the world, I was immediately drawn to the haunting melody of the Russian folk song "Bayu, Bayushki, Bayu." Fascinated by the way the melody and lyrics combined could evoke a harsh and cold landscape with immense depth and profundity, I decided to expand on these with a stark piano accompaniment in the opening section, invoking the sounds of a balalaika. As the singers seem to drift off to sleep mid-verse, a new spirit, with a more anxious undertone, emerges. While many lullabies have a peaceful or tranquil tone, "Bayu" contains the terrifying threat of a wolf coming to steal you while you sleep. I found these atypical lyrics refreshingly different, delightfully troubling, and even potentially nightmare-inducing to a slumbering child.
"Bayu, Bayushki, Bayu" was a gift to the Salt Lake Choral Artists conducted by Brady Allred in Salt Lake City, Utah as a contribution to their concert "Lullabies of the World," (20 February 2015) inspired by the international project of the same name conceived by VOICE and Europa Canta.
Lyrics: Russian Folk Song