Joanna Lee

Your Little Voice

for solo soprano

duration: 3 minutes

'your little voice'
Singing and its mechanics has always, for me, been a source of great interest, an interest which became ever more fervent upon increasing exposure and awareness to the sheer wealth of vocal forms and techniques. Naturally, I was eager to create a piece that drew on my interest and experiences of vocal diversity.

Coincidentally, during my explorations and discoveries, I came across the works of E. E. Cummings and fell upon 'your little voice'. This poem provided the perfect vehicle for my intended display of vocal 'pyrotechnics'. Not only did the text contain so-called 'singing-words', but the underlying simplicity of the poem enabled the portrayal and exploitation of each vocal form to stand at forefront.

I was ardently aware, when composing this piece, of the necessity to keep each vocal form quite separate, as to parallel the snobbery and animosity in reality between each of the genres, e.g. jazz, to Classical, to West-end musical, to Indian Classical.

Compositionally, I employed the use of a 12-tone row, as the 'tension-release' nature of the intervals of my specific line, provided balance between portraying animosity of separate genres whilst retaining the sense of a tuneful song. I also found this method versatile, considering the variety of musical forms. In addition, the nature of the tone-row allows the vocal characters, rather than the music itself, to take authority.

Ultimately, this piece was composed under the pretence it would be fun, if somewhat challenging, to perform. The melodramatic nature required for the successful execution of 'your little voice', is humorous to watch and hear. I hope the performer and listener finds validity, pleasure and admiration for the versatility and diversity of the voice and it’s associated forms, which is depicted in 'your little voice'.

Born in 1982, Joanna Kate Lee's musical interests began with piano lessons at the age of five. By the time she was eighteen, Joanna had achieved a performer’s diploma (A.L.C.M) on the piano, grade 8 distinction in both piano and music theory, and grade 7 distinction on the violin.

During her studies at ‘A’ level, Joanna recognised her main interest in music was to lay in the challenging and limitless experiments of composition. Hence, she decided to undertake a BMus(Hons) degree, majoring in composition, at Birmingham Conservatoire studying with Joe Cutler.

Now entering her third year of study, Joanna will shortly be travelling to Oslo having accepted an offer for a short period of study at the Norwegian State Academy of Music, under the tuition of their Head of Composition, Ivor Frounberg.

Joanna has recently completed her first string quartet, Sand Dunes, and a piece for saxophone, piano and percussion for the group Nosferatu.

Back to shortlist.