Lyre Association of North America

Music Book Review: Songs of the Trees, by Colin Tanser

by Wendy Polich, Littleton, CO

This is the first in a series of book and music reviews:
Songs of the Trees
Music and Words by Colin Tanser
Illustrations by Jennie Tanser

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

Perhaps if Joyce Kilmer had heard one of Colin Tanser's musical poems, he would reconsider those lines. Here in Colorado, in the last part of Spring, the trees have all leafed out beautifully; most notably, the mighty cottonwoods.  It has literally been snowing cotton for days on end in my backyard, which edges the High Line Canal and is shaded by these gentle giants. As I reflect on their floating, cottony seeds and shimmering, heart-shaped leaves, I'm connected to my own heart. Trees can do this.

So can music. One of my favorite collections of lyre music is Colin Tanser's, Songs of the Trees. I love its simplicity, beauty, and wisdom. Like a haiku, eight of the nine songs have only three lines each (the last is a canon of the seven trees), accompanied by Jennie Tanser's beautiful illustrations and calligraphy. Each piece contains a world unto itself; a contemplative offering of music and song-poem, composed with the tree and planetary scale of each day to guide our hearts. In keeping with its simplicity, this collection is for all playing levels. Wisdom, beauty, and peace grow slowly in these pages, like trees.

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