Song of the Beach
by Tamezo Narita
arr. by Dale Jergenson
SATB, Bass solo, keyboard, percussion
Laurendale Associates


Review from The Choral Journal, March, 1994

In his arrangement of this Japanese song, Dale Jergenson has utilized various choral and instrumental colors to underscore a text by Kokei Hayashi alluding to memories and love. This gentle piece features a bass solo accompanied by a neutral sound in the three upper voices. The solo yields to a tutti section which completes each of the first two verses. The third verse begins with unison women's voices accompanied by four-part men's chorus, again returning to the full chorus, with a brief final statement by the soloist leading to the work's slow, quiet conclusion.

The divisi choral parts are very simple and logical in both pitches and rhythms. Their ranges are easily accessible to most choruses (the male soloists sings only from c to a), with a penultimate E-flat in the second-bass line. The surging, arpeggiated accompaniment, labeled for split electric keyboard (left hand, "Rhodes"; right hand, "koto") also utilizes atmospheric percussion instruments: wind chimes, triangle, and finger cymbals. Additionally, marimba or soft xylophone is suggested for the middle section of the piece. Unfortunately, Jergenson's pronunciation comments give the chorus only the sketchiest guidance for singing the Japanese text.

Review by Michael Braz


Review from The Choral Journal, May, 1994

Dale Jergenson's lovely, lilting arrangement of this graceful Japanese piece is highly appropriate for high school spring choral concerts. Even though the alto and tenor vocal ranges are a bit extended (b-flat to d-flat2, and e-flat to a-flat1, respectively), they, along with the soprano, bass and bass solo ranges are not extreme. The tessitura in all voices is comfortable for young, developing choirs. Only the transliterated Japanese text is underlaid. A literal translation and a pronunciation guide are provided.

The rather sophisticated accompaniment written for keyboard (right hand, koto; left hand, Fender Rhodes) and percussion (wind chimes, finger cymbals, and triangle), imitates the "ebb and flow of the ocean on a beach." The piece would be particularly appropriate for a multicultural program.

Review by James Cox