"In an uninterrupted flow of seven songs, Kechley set to music a skillful collage of Japanese haikus, interwoven with Persian, Chinese and American Indian texts. A large orchestra, reinforced by varied and highly effective percussion instruments wrapped the soprano’s beautifully inflected discourse into a brightly shimmering cloak of sound.....Beauty, ineffable and ephemeral, was at the core of the words and of the music, and instantly achieved the ever-recurring miracle of transforming thoughts of death and loss and mourning into a rich, highly rewarding aesthetic experience. At the end of the piece, the chorus, perched high on the back balcony of the Ozawa Hall, intoned a moving Native American text: Do not stand at my grave and weep, I am not there I do not sleep." --Simon Wainrib, Berkshire Record. Following its premiere at Tanglewood, Andrew Pincus of the Berkshire Eagle wrote "The tone poem offers striking images: Japanese scales and instrumental effects, insects buzzing in the strings, a strong rhythmic punch for magic mushrooms’ effect, a leaf fluttering downward in a harp passage, a chorale in the brasses to suggest ‘the giant tortoise of paradise.’ And over all hovers the poignant voice, dwelling not on death but on life." Commissioned by the Berkshire Symphony.
Recorded on compact disc, The Skylark Sings: Music by David Kechley, Liscio 97892 (lisciorecordings.com)