Opus #41

Commissioned to the Empire State Youth Orchestra and Percussion ensemble. Based on mythology of Native Americans in the United States.

Level: Intermediate

Duration: 7’30”

Setup: Percussion Ensemble (8 players)

Available in: Hard copy and in PDF (Click Add to Cart)

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Program Note

This work for percussion ensemble (8 players) was commissioned by the Empire State Repertory and Junior Percussion Ensembles for ESYO New Music for a New Generation Festival supported by the New York State Music Fund, and was premiered on March 2008 by the E.S.Y.O Percussion Ensemble.

“The Great Spirit is our Father, but the Earth is our Mother. She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground she returns to us.” Spoken by Big Thunder of the Wabanaki nation in Maine, these words bear eloquent testimony to an awareness of the cosmos that is shared by all the native cultures of what is today the United States and Canada.

The main harmonic concept of the work consists of the following consideration: If the letters of the alphabet are given to the notes of a chromatic scale, the letter A would be the note “C”, letter B the “C#”, letter C the “D”, letter E the “D#” and so on. With this configuration, the words “Mother Earth” create a C major/suspended chord and the words”Father Sky” create a C major/suspended chord with a minor seventh and a sharp eleventh, suggesting a C augmented chord and a C whole tone scale. The first part represents the Earth and depicts the progression from the dawn to the full light of day. A small bridge represents the fire, and the second part represents the Sky with its force and thunderstorms. The same material that represents the Earth will close the work. The main theme of the work represents the Great Spirit and his voice will be heard throughout the piece, through the Earth and from the Sky.


Video with SMU Perc. Ens. directed by John Wooton



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