In Genoa, groups of men gather to sing in the Trallalero style. Typically, there are nine in the group: five
are basses, two mimic guitars, one sings the melody while leading the group, and the highest voice
(sometimes referred to as la donna) sings in a florid falsetto. The vibrato is extravagant, and the
resonance is bright and vibrant. This composition celebrates these elements by magnifying (zooming into)
a transcription of La Partenza da Parigi as recorded by Alan Lomax in 1954. The names of the singers
have unfortunately been lost to history.
This work was commissioned and first performed by Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de
Catalunya, conducted by Maestra Ruth Reinhardt, 30 April, 2021, featuring Miller as Guest Composer of
L’Auditori de Barcelona 2020-21. Later that year, it was revised slightly for performance by the City of
Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Finnegan Downie Dear.
La Donna is dedicated to Justin Christensen in memory of a Genovese adventure, and in thanks for many
discussions about speed in music over the years