Andrea Clearfield: "Tse Go La" from the cantata "Tse Go La (At the Threshold of This Life)". Recording of the version for treble chorus and piano.
Program Notes for the original cantata:
Tse Go La (At the threshold of this life), composed in 2012 and scored for double chorus, chamber orchestra and electronics was inspired by the composer’s fieldwork in the restricted, remote Himalayan region of Lo Monthang in Upper Mustang, Nepal where she recorded and documented indigenous folk music with Katey Blumenthal, ethnomusicologist and anthropologist.The people of this region, just over the border of Tibet, are ethnically Tibetan. Lo Monthang is one of the last remaining enclaves of old Tibetan culture. These songs are sung in the Mustang dialect of Tibetan. Under the auspices of the Rubin Foundation, Clearfield and Blumenthal recorded 130 songs that had not been previously documented. The songs are now part of the University of Cambridge World Oral Literature Project dedicated to the preservation of endangered languages. The recordings are also now in the Cultural Library in Lo Monthang, Nepal and the songs are being taught to Mustangi children in NYC as part of a new Himalayan language and culture preservation initiative. Tse Go La was co-commissioned by the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Girlchoir as a way to bring some of these songs for the first time to the U.S. The libretto incorporates original poetry by Dr. Sienna Craig, chair of the anthropology department at Dartmouth College, and traditional songs and texts. The composer wishes to thank The MacDowell Colony, The Bellagio Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Ragdale Foundation for providing invaluable space and time to compose this work.