Desert Songs II
I. Cactus Wren
"Desert Songs II is the second part of the Desert Songs Triptyche. The work was commissioned in memory of Dr. John Creange by the Arizona Repertory Singers, Jeffry Jahn, Music Director; Gary and Kirsten Cook; and the Animas Music Festival, John Pennington, Artistic Director. The text for this second part of the the Desert Songs Triptyche contains excerpts of the poems"Cactus Wren", "Lizard" and "Coyote", by Byrd Baylor.
"Desert Songs II" begins with "Cactus Wren" movement. The movement starts out with the marimba and Philippino buzzing sticks hammering out a 16th-note rhythmic pattern. The composer listened to several cactus wren calls on the internet and wrote this pattern down directly from one of the recordings. Motives from this pattern are heard in various forms throughout the movement. The climax of the movement is on the text "I like thorns in all directions."
The second movement, "Lizard", begins with a straightforward recitative-style choral proclamation of the story of the lizard's early life. The text for the next part of the poem is: "The rougher the country the faster I run." The composer mellismatic runs in all four voice parts to depict this text. These mellismatic runs are accompanied by a fast constantly rising vibraphone part along with a drum kit of tom toms, bongos, guiro, cajon, high-hat, suspended cymbal, timpano and agogo bells. When the lizard finally rests, the gentle gamelan-inspired sounds of marimba, vibraphone and glockenspiel are heard.
The final movement of "Desert Songs II" is called "Coyote" and is dedicated to the memory of the composer's dog, "Rowdy" who had passed away a short time before the composer set the text. The coyote is known as a "trickster" because they sometimes trick their prey. One coyote will jump up in the air and howl, causing the prey to pay attention to them, while the pack is sneaking up behind them. The composer based his technique on this practice by introducing a "trickster" motive that - designed to divert the attention of the listener when it is heard. "Desert Songs II" ends with high voices singing from across the hill, "We're here, alive in the moonlight."
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Works for Percussion by this Composer
A Cross On Wood - Marimba
Concerto for Marimba and Chamber Orchestra (Bodine) - Marimba; Orchestra
Concerto for Marimba and Concert Band - Marimba; Band
Desert Songs I - Percussion Duo; Choir
Desert Songs II - Percussion Duo; Choir
Desert Songs III - Percussion Duo; Choir
Kaleidoscope: Concerto for Marimba and Orchestra - Marimba; Orchestra
Namaste: Concerto for Marimba and Percussion Ensemble - Marimba; Percussion Sextet
Rhapsodia - Marimba; Flute
Rhapsody - Multiple Percussion; Horn
Romance - Marimba