Ran, S. - The Flight of the Brave Chicken: Ode to Nina

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TITLE: The Flight of the Brave Chicken: Ode to Nina
COMPOSER: Shulamit Ran
PUBLISHER: Theodore Presser
INSTRUMENTATION: Flute/Piccolo and Clarinet/Bass Clarinet

Commissioned by the Family of Nina Frenkel

World Premiere: December 11, 2018, Mayslake Peabody Estate, Oak Brook, Illinois

Jennie Oh Brown, piccolo and flute

Andrea R. DiOrio, bass clarinet and Bb clarinet

Program Note: Brave Chicken was a character developed by Nina Frenkel, gifted illustrator, graphic artist, and beloved friend to many, who passed away at the age of 43 have lost a difficult battle with cancer. Her parents, Marcel and Anne Frenkel, approached me in May 2017 about composing a short work in Nina's memory, suggesting that it be based on four delightful panels that Nina had painted in 2014 before she knew of the recurrence of the disease.

Titled "Brave Chicken Meets the Ogre," "Brave Chicken Fights the Ogre," "Brave Chicken Flees to Safety," and "Brave Chicken in the Healing Hut," the four panels depict a progression from darkness to light. And while my composition does not attempt to follow the four panels literally, I did aim to create two distinctly different musical characters who are posed against one another with one clearly perceived as dominant and threatening, and trace the evolving change in the balance of power, and with it the journey from darkness to light. 

Inspired by the knowledge that Nina herself greatly enjoyed playing the clarinet, I decided to pair bass clarinet with piccolo, eventually switching the piccolo over to flute, with clarinet appearing in time for the work's peaceful conclusion. Though I had never met Nina, I felt honored to compose this work in her memory. 

- Shulamit Ran

Performance Notes: Accidentals remain in force for the duration of the bar (including unmetered bars) in the octave shown. Cautionary accidentals are often added for convenience. 

The four panels inspiring this work, and reproduced on the publication on the cover, are available for download in .jpg format from the publisher, free of charge, for projection or reprints in the program in conjunction with performances of this musical composition. Please visit to access the downloadable images.

Duration: c. 6 minutes