Live recording from "Joseph Rebman MM Composition recital" on March 29th, 2015. Delphine Piguet, trombone, Michael Coleman, percussion, and Joseph Rebman, harp.
Instrumentation: Harp, trombone, mixed percussion, and optional dance.
Percussion: 4 tom-toms, mounted tambourine, bass drum, medium triangle, large triangle, medium cymbal, large cymbal, vibraphone, crotales.
Written: fall 2011 through spring 2012
Duration: 13 min
Premiere: Music premiered on a recital given by the composer on February 10th, 2013 at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Austin Oprean, trombone, Mark Stein, percussion, and Joseph Rebman, harp.
Dance premiered on a recital given by the composer on March 29th, 2015 with choreography by Sierra Codalata. Delphine Piguet, trombone, Michael Coleman, percussion, and Joseph Rebman, harp.
The Juniper Tree is based on the Brothers Grimm fairytale of the same name. Our story begins with a wicked step-mother who is jealous of her step-son, and in a moment of fury she kills him. Instantly seeing her mistake, she quickly comes up with a cover-up. She convinces her husband and daughter that he has left town to visit a distant relative, and buries his remains under the Juniper tree in the front yard. Suddenly the tree opens up and a beautiful bird flies out.
The bird flies to the town goldsmith's shop and sings a song about the tragic death of the little boy. The goldsmith doesn't pay attention until the end of the song, and requests the bird to sing it again. The bird replies that he only sings once for free, and requires payment to sing again. The Goldsmith gives him a gold chain, which the bird accepts. After singing again, the bird flies first to the shoemaker, then to the mill. At each places the workers don't notice until the end of his song and request to hear it again. As payment, the bird receives red shoes from the shoemaker and the mill stone from the mill workers.
Back at the house, the wicked step-mother is starting to loose her mind from her trickery and guilty conscious. Her husband and daughter are content, but miss the little boy. The bird arrives at the house and sings the first two lines of his song. Curious, the father goes out to see what is happening, and the bird gives him the gold chain. The father suddenly feels happy, while the step-mother feels worse. The bird sings the next two lines of the song, and this time the daughter becomes curious enough and walks outside. The bird gives her the red shoes, suddenly making her cheerful, while the step-mother continues to feel worse. The bird sings the final three lines of his song, and at her wits end, the step-mother finally goes outside, hoping to also be cheered up by the song. The bird hurls the millstone down onto her, crushing and killing her. Startled by the noise, the father and daughter run outside, and find nothing except the little boy standing near the juniper tree. The three go back inside and live happily ever after.
I. Jealousy of the Step-Mother
II. The Goldsmith
III. The Shoemaker
IV. The Mill
V. Return of the Son