Indigenous Rites, Concerto for Baritone Saxophone and Brass Band
Duration: about 13 minutes
Commissioned by the Hannaford Street Silver Band, through a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts, to celebrate its 30th anniversary season.
Indigenous Rites is inspired by sounds from rituals of several indigenous cultures of Yunnan province in southwest China – mating calls, shamanistic prayers, temple chants of Tibetan monks, and bugle-like phrases played by homemade leaf instruments from the Hani minority. I started the composition process by listening to source recordings of the above, and then processed these sounds through my own creative lens, such that the resultant composition reflects my own voice rather than a replication of the original folk sources.
The work begins with calls from the saxophone, cornets, and a flugelhorn, scattered throughout the hall, simulating an antiphonal call-and-response. The solo players gradually resume their traditional place on stage and the passage culminates in a climactic chord. The next section, titled “Menacing,” begins with low saxophone chanting with multiphonics, followed by a slow “Temple Chant” section. The chanting builds, accelerating to an exuberant passage for the entire brass band. A virtuosic saxophone solo propels the work to a fast and rhythmic final section, and the work ends with an energetic and emphatic close.
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