Suite for Horn and Piano


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The Suite for Horn and Piano (with optional percussion and interpretive dance) is another sonic foray into African mythology, traditions, and metaphysics. It’s my first in-depth exploration into the versatility of the French horn. After all, what other instrument can straddle so regally on the thrones of the woodwinds and the brass families of instruments! Subtitled “Tales of Sango,” each of the six movements captures an aspect or variation of the many tales about one of the most feared yet venerable of all Yoruba deities: Sango, the god of Lightning and Thunder, or as some anthropologists would put it, the “Thor” of African mythology. Indeed, each movement is a complete kaleidoscope into new horizons of rhythms, exotic harmonies, and intercultural exploration. Movement 1, “Arrival” is a clarion call heralding a dignitary into a community. Movement 2, “Homage” is a nostalgic glimpse of a new land, new peoples, filled with promise; it’s conversational, yet a soliloquy. Movement 3, “Forest Dreams” is an energetic recount of adversities traversed in distant lands. In “Oracles,” or Movement 4 a tentative libation to appease ancestral forebears. Movement 5, “Childhood Dreams” is a reminisce of toddler years long past – of simple but delicate times. Finally, the last movement, “Sango Farewell,” deft, boisterous, heroic, deliberately crafted to bring the work to a rousing close. The optional part for twin-congas or djembe drum in movements 3, 4, 5, and 6 is intended to paraphrase fragments of Yoruba bata drumming, and along with the optional interpretive dances for movements 2, 3 and 5 should immensely enhance the performance.


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