Pagodas Sailing in Clouds, for woodwind quartet


Title Pagodas Sailing in Clouds

Date of composing September 2017

Duration [3’04”]

Genre piece for woodwind quartet (flute, oboe, Bb clarinet, bassoon)

Style contemporary, ethnic (Chinese), neo-romantic, post-impressionistic

Copyright  © 2017 Natalia Pispini



In F.  Adagio arioso. It is music about something vague, obscure and ever-changing like clouds in mountains and objects behind them that appear and disappear. I used pentatonic scales, and so I thought, somewhere in the beginning of working for this piece, that it could be about Chinese pagodas hidden in mountain clouds in motion.


The piece is composed with use of contrapuntal technique of imitations and variation technique, and it is implementing different types of the pentatonic scale. It has the form A A1 AA3 where A2 and A3 can be interpreted as a middle section and a recapitulation. There are 3 contrast themes: the ‘calls’ (in the beginnings of each phrase), the theme with contrapuntal ‘flowing’ texture (the ‘body’ of the phrases), and the staccato motifs (in the end of phrases). The ‘calls’ are played with delay which creates the sonoric effect of folk-like playing, a bit out of coordination.


Performance notes

No extended technique is required. Flexibility in reading modal scales and non-standard rhythm, good skills of playing within extended pitch ranges, and quick staccato technique (for flute, clarinet and bassoon) are necessary for the best performance of this composition.

Look at the score sample

If you want to play this piece, please contact Natalia.


Morning Leaves Palette, for flute quartet



In F.

  1. Adagio quasi sognando
  2. Allegretto fragile


Date of composing August 2017

Genre suite in two movements (slow-fast)

Style contemporary, Neo-Romantic

Duration [5’18”], [2’05”]

Level of difficulty advanced

Copyright © 2017 Natalia Pispini


Idea and musical structure

Looking at the forest foliage in summer morning, I wanted to set those images to music. I thought of different colors of green, their obscure transition and mixture, the sun light coming and illuminating new sites and corners before masked in shadow…

For this task, the quartet of 4 flutes in C, I thought, would be suitable.

The constructive principles of the piece came as the continuation of the idea of a morning leaves palette. It is the ‘mixing’ and ‘blurring’ motifs, and the shimmering of major / minor keys (as similar to lights and shades). The thirds and the sixths intervals in various combinations play important role in the whole construction. While working, I developed at least two different ways of how these principles can be applied, and, in order to display both ways, I composed two movements in slow-fast scheme. The second movement follows the first immediately (attacca).

  1. Adagio quasi sognando. Consisting of several blocks which are like different kind of images grasped by the sunrays. The blocks, although have different texture, follow certain tonal scheme. Instead of direct joining the blocks I used the technique of ‘blurring’ the borders, when the sound of the following block appears while the previous one still goes, and the sound of the previous block is echoing while the new one comes. Technically, you can create this ‘blurring’ in various ways. Here, for blurring sectors I used arithmetic and geometric rhythmic progressions. The same set of blocks is repeated twice, with slight ‘blurring’ variations, in order to prolong the impressions, to make them yet more static and expository.


  1. Allegretto fragile. The major / minor keys shimmering and the thirds / sixths intervals are intertwined with polyphonic form based on a 4-voice canon. So called ‘simple’ canon (imitations come at the unison), rhythmically plain, but has structural complications.

Performance notes

The flute players are better to be located spaciously on the stage in order to achieve the stereo effects in some episodes of the 1st mvt., and all along the 2nd mvt.

The 1st mvt. needs exact rhythmic reading. Before the longer notes the short breathing breaks are possible. Legato should be applied everywhere when appropriate.

The 2nd mvt. has moderate volume between mp and mf, and quiets down by the end.


Look at the score samples  1st mvt.    2nd mvt

Listen to the MIDI excerpt on SoundCloud

Listen to the MIDI excerpts + score samples on YouTube


If you like the suite and want to play it, please contact me.


После дождя / After the rain, choral song on Alexander Block’s poem


From : Two choral songs on Alexander Blok’s poems

Date of composing March 2016

Genre choral songs for mixed SATB chorus a cappella

Language Russian

Style Romantic, Neo-Romantic

Duration [2’00”]

Level of difficulty advanced

Dedication to Nina A. Zharkova

Copyrights music: © 2016 Natalia Pispini; lyrics: Alexander Block’s poems from public domain

Idea and musical structure

In A. Andante. Working on the melody in this song, I tried to express the images coming out of the verses: a rain’s rare drops, a stream’s murmuring, flowers’ opening, birds’ calling are heard in the melodic outline. The form is free and following the lyrics. The texture is almost transparent, and the harmonies are ‘sharp’. The vocal ranges: soprano – D4 – A5, alto – B3 – C-sharp5, tenor – C-sharp3 – E-sharp4, bass – A2 – G-sharp3.


Russain text

Сирени бледные дождем к земле прибиты…

Замолкла песня соловья;

Немолчно говор слышится сердитый

Разлитого ручья…


Природа ждет лучей обетованных:

Цветы поднимут влажный лик,

И вновь в моих садах благоуханных

Раздастся птичий крик…


English transliteration

Sireni blednye dozhdyom k zemle pribity…

Zamolkla pesnya solov’ya;

Nemolchno govor slyshitsya serdityy

Razlitovo ruch’ya…


Priroda zhdyot luchey obetovannykh:

Tsvety podnimut vlazhnyy lik,

I vnov’ v moikh sadakh blagoukhannykh

Razdastsya ptichiy krik…


English translation

Pale lilacs are nailed to the ground by rain

The nightingale’s song has fallen silent;

Incessantly, a grumpy murmur is heard

Out of the flooded stream …


The nature is waiting for the promised rays:

The flowers will rise their moist faces,

And in my aromatic gardens, once again,

The bird calls will resound…


Performance notes.

1.The piece has a subtle, sophisticated character. It should be performed with light rubato. 2. The piece contains dissonant harmonies which need special care when singing a cappella. 3. The voice ranges are demanding: while the soprano and alto parts have extension at their higher range, the tenor part has the extended lower range. 4. The sustained notes require unnoticeable, non-simultaneous breathing.


Look at the score sample

Listen to the MIDI excerpt on SoundCloud

Listen and watch the MIDI excerpt + score sample on YouTube

Listen to and watch the whole piece as media clip on YouTube

Purchase the score + parts on Sheet Music Plus

Purchase the score + parts on Etsy

Two choral songs on Alexander Blok’s poems


  1. Я стремлюсь к роскошной воле / I seek for the splendid vast. D major. Largo
  2. После дождя / After the rain. In A. Andante


Date of composing March 2016

Genre choral songs for mixed SATTB / SATB chorus a cappella

Language Russian

Style Romantic, Neo-Romantic

Duration [2’09”], [2’00”]

Level of difficulty intermediate to advanced; advanced

Dedication to Nina A. Zharkova

Copyrights music: © 2016 Natalia Pispini; lyrics: Alexander Block’s poems from public domain

I am glad to introduce another choral works bringing further exploration of the harmonic and textural possibilities of the Romantic music style. It is my second opus (after the cycle on Walt Whitman’s lyrics) composed for mixed a cappella chorus.

The choice was made for two early poems by Russian symbolist poet Alexander Blok (1880-1921), written in 1898-1899. These poems are not so peculiar to the famous symbolist style of Blok; they rather reflect views of a young, daydreaming and romantic personality, with ardent and idealistic attitude to the world around. The poems reveal admiration for the nature but there is also veiled parallelism to the psychological plane of human existence. These early poems by Blok truly bear a resemblance to the works of another Russian Romantic poetry master, Fyodor Tyutchev.

The songs are dedicated to Nina A. Zharkova, my first teacher of music.

For the Russian lyrics, I provide my own literal English translation (and the transliteration can be checked at the links below).

No.1. Я стремлюсь к роскошной воле / Ya stremlyus’ k roskoshnoy vole / I seek for the splendid vast

Russian text

Я стремлюсь к роскошной воле,

Мчусь к прекрасной стороне,

Где в широком чистом поле

Хорошо, как в чудном сне.

Там цветут и клевер пышный,

И невинный василек,

Вечно шелест легкий слышно:

Колос клонит… Путь далек!

Есть одно лишь в океане,

Клонит лишь одно траву…

Ты не видишь там, в тумане,

Я увидел – и сорву!


English translation

I seek for the splendid vast,

I rush to the beautiful land,

Where, in a wide smooth meadow,

It’s as good as in a dream.

They’re blooming there: a pompous clover

And an innocent cornflower,

Forever, a rustle’s slightly heard:

The ears are bending… The path is long!

There is only one thing in the ocean,

Only one that bends the grass…

You don’t see it there, in the mist,

I’ve seen, and I’ll pick it up!


No.2. После дождя / After the rain

Russian text

Сирени бледные дождем к земле прибиты…

Замолкла песня соловья;

Немолчно говор слышится сердитый

Разлитого ручья…


Природа ждет лучей обетованных:

Цветы поднимут влажный лик,

И вновь в моих садах благоуханных

Раздастся птичий крик…


English translation

The pale lilacs are nailed to the ground by rain…

The nightingale’s song has fallen silent;

Incessantly, a grumpy murmur is heard

Out of the flooded stream …


The nature’s waiting for the promised rays:

The flowers will raise their moist faces,

And again, in my fragrant gardens,

The bird calls will resound…


The works are independent from each other and do not constitute a cycle. Both choruses are quite slow (1 – Largo, 2 – Andante) and require long breathing technique. Look at the descriptions of each chorus at the links below.

Я стремлюсь к роскошной воле / I seek for the splendid vast

После дождя / After the rain

The Gods of Old are Silent – Live Performance


On 24th June, 2017, my work ‘The Gods of Old are Silent’ (on Lord Byron’s poem) was performed in Orestiada, Greece, during one of the open air recital in frame of the annual music and art urban festival ‘Oresteia’. The performance had been conducted due to the kindness of the administration of the Municipal enterprise of cultural development for public benefit (DIKEPAO), the Municipal music school (Odeio), and its choirmaster and vocal teacher Maria Dimitriadou.

Originally composed for the 2-part chorus, the work had been arranged for two female voices by Maria Dimitriadou (the flute part was omitted).

The performers:

Poem reciting, vocal: Stella Pantou, Dimitra Fydanidou (pupils of the vocal department of the Odeio)

Introductory speech, piano: Maria Dimitriadou



For the Greek audience, the translation of the English text of the Byron’s poem was made by Dimitrios Pispinis:

Οι αρχαίοι Θεοί είναι σιωπηλοί στην ακτή  

Από τότε που ο μεγάλος Πάν χάθηκε, και με ένα βρυχηθμό    

Από τα νερά του Ιονίου ακούστηκε μία φοβερή    

Φωνή που διακήρυξε «ο Μεγάλος Παν είναι νεκρός.»     

Πόσα πέθαναν μαζί του! ψέματα ή αλήθεια – το όνειρο 

Ήταν όμορφο που γέμισε κάθε ρυάκι   

Με περισσότερο από πτερυγωτούς κατοίκους, και στόλισε    

Δάση και νερά με ντροπαλές νύμφες που περιφρόνησαν 

Τις θεότητες που τις κυνήγησαν, ή στις αγκαλιές  

Με τους θεούς γέννησαν την υψηλή γενιά των ηρώων

Τα ονόματα των οποίων βρίσκονται στους λόφους και στις θάλασσες.


It was my honor and great pleasure to be performed first in Greece and in Orestiada.

Read more about this work

Look at the score

Listen to the MIDI (on YouTube)

Purchase the e-score (on Etsy)

On Desert Rose

On Desert Rose, for guitar quartet

Date of composing June 2017

Genre program Romantic piece, fantasy, musical poem

Style Neo-Romantic, Romantic, Arabic ethnic

Duration [11′]

Level of difficulty intermediate

Copyright © 2017 Natalia Pispini   all rights reserved


In D, Lontano. Lento sostenuto.  A program composition inspired by Arabian desert, its nature and culture, and based on the poem composed specifically for this music by Natalia Pispini.

In spring 2017, I received the suggestion from classical guitarist César Mora to compose a piece for his ensemble Cairo Guitar Collective based in Cairo, Egypt. The proposition was to compose music which would reflect Arabic elements. I liked the idea and the new challenge of composing for the guitar. Some years ago I have visited the National Museum in Riyadh where I was impressed by the desert rose, the rock formation with amazing scheme of rose petals (the photo of this rock is used in the image above). So, I thought of the desert like metaphor of death, loneliness, indifference, while the rose could symbolize life, love, expectations… Thus, the fabula, then the poem and the music were created.



… no one can see her beauty

after the wind ’s soft blowing

the desert rose’s come to life at night


her unexpected beauty


and in the morning  – a breathless rock again

one has to guard another spring

as month shaban ’ll be coming

in hazy gleams of sickle moon hilal

guard as it ‘ll breeze from south …


Program plot can be described as following:

It had happened in a lonely desert. There was a stone desert rose. Once by night, in spring, in month shaban, under the crescent moon hilal, after the south wind the stone desert rose had become an alive flower. It revealed its shining beauty but nobody could see it in the desert at night. The morning and the sunrise came, and the rose became a stone again.

Musical themes

The main musical themes are those of

desert (mm.1-16),

night and loneliness (mm. 16-19, 28-39),

crescent moon (mm. 50-53),

south wind (mm. 63-66),

desert rose crystal stone (mm. 20-26),

desert rose as a beautiful flower (mm. 112-127),

morning light of the sunrise (mm. 156-169).

Musical structure

The musical structure is a long Romantic program piece with 4 major sections:

Introduction (Lontano) It’s like the beginning of a fairy-tale. Refers to the place of the story, the Arabian desert.

Exposition (Lento sostenuto. Lento arioso. Con moto etc., letters A-B) shows the initial situation (it is night in the desert, there is a stone rose, and the crescent moon is on the sky, and the south wind is blowing).

Middle Section (Meno mosso. Più mosso etc., letters C-D) describes how the stone rose became an alive flower, and show its beauty.

Final Section (Lento sostenuto. Lento arioso, letters E-F-G) reminds about the desert, night and loneliness, and leads to the end of the story (the morning is coming with the sunrise, and the rose becomes a stone again).

Arabic influence

When composing this music, the particular elements of Arabic music were used.

Sometimes the texture is affected by the Arabic oud playing manners.

There are so called ‘arabesques’ ornamenting the melody.

Finally, the Arabic maqams are represented:

Hijaz (themes of desert, night and loneliness),

Saba (theme of the stone desert rose),

Bayati (theme of moon),

Huzam (themes of the wind and the rose flower).

These maqams are interpreted as elements of Romantic / Neo-Romantic music style.

Performance notes

All the tempo changes are suggested by the composer and can be revised or omitted by the musicians according to their taste and professional level. Since the music has a character of a fantasy / fairy story, it’s tempo rubato can be played in various ways.

View the score sample

Listen to MIDI excerpt on YouTube


The Gods of Old are Silent, on Lord Byron’s poem

For a long time I wanted to compose a choral work with English lyrics but related to Greece. Among the first things there was Lord Byron’s philhellenism that came to my mind, and after searching I found one of his poems, a passage which is practically unknown. It looks rather like an unfinished draft, but the more I was reading it, the more impact it had on me. At once, this rough but yet genius fragment had given to me what I was seeking for: a retrospective view where great Greek mythology, history and spirit of freedom would be condensed just in few lines. Thus I’d made my choice. The choral song is easy to perform, it has only two choral parts (soprano-alto and tenor-bass). The flute pastoral solo (reference to ‘the mighty Pan’) had been added to the classical chorus+piano ensemble as an option.

Structure and technique

The song is in C major, Con moto e narrante. The lyrics are Lord Byron’s passage from his unfinished poem ‘Aristomenes’ written in Cephalonia island in September 1823, shortly after his arriving to Greece to help the Greek people in the liberation:

The Gods of old are silent on the shore.
Since the great Pan expired, and through the roar
Of the Ionian waters broke a dread
Voice which proclaimed “the Mighty Pan is dead.”
How much died with him! false or true—the dream
Was beautiful which peopled every stream
With more than finny tenants, and adorned
The woods and waters with coy nymphs that scorned
Pursuing Deities, or in the embrace
Of gods brought forth the high heroic race
Whose names are on the hills and o’er the seas.

The musical form is free and reflects the text. Natural modes have been chosen as the appropriate for the solemn, epic character of the piece. The phrases are evenly distributed between female and male voices to provide the easiness of singing of choral texture, and that makes the work suitable for amateur singers (while the piano and the flute parts should be considered of intermediate level of difficulty).

Performance notes

The performance is expected to move in moderate tempo and strict, stable rhythm. The flute part is optional and can be omitted.

Date of composing March 2017

Genre choral song for mixed 2-parts chorus, piano and flute

Language English

Style Neo-Romantic

Duration [2’20”]

Level of difficulty beginner or amateur chorus

Copyrights music: © 2017 Natalia Pispini; George Gordon Byron’s poem ‘Aristomenes’ from public domain (

Look at the score sample

Listen to the MIDI-rendering on YouTube

Purchase the escore on Etsy 

Purchase the escore on Sheetmusicplus

This work had its first performance on June 24, 2017, in Orestiada, Greece. read more…