Sirocco is a new modern dance work by choreographer Karis Sloss which was performed by her professional dance troupe, the Eclectic Edge Ensemble; four performances in mid July 2007 drew nearly 600 enthusiastic audience members. The 45-minute score includes music by three separate composers, including Warren Park. A special order CD of Music from Sirocco is available through Warren Park Music (please click the button below with the clouds photo). The music for Sirocco was chosen by Karis Sloss from previously written compositions and from music written specifically for this production. Here below are audio samples from Sirocco of music written by Warren Park, for your listening pleasure, with comments from him.
Slow 5 & 6
This is the nickname we gave this short segue piece that was intended to connect two scenes, but was never used in the final show. This simple piece for a small chamber group intentionally introduces the rhythm of a pattern of 5 beats followed by 6 beats in a cycle. This pattern is used again, faster, in Morning After, below. The ‘5’ that begins that pattern is subdivided using eighth notes this way: 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2, 1-2 while the second portion of the cycle, the six beat part, still using eighth notes, adds another beat to the pattern: 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2, 1-2, 1-2. The resulting 11 beat loop is a interesting rhythmic feature to work with. All the instruments you hear are computer-based voices found within the Garritan Personal Orchestra program. In other words, the marimba, harp, violin, bass clarinet, bass etc. you hear, that sound so much like real players, are actually instrumental voices I am controlling carefully via computer programming.
Intro to Town
Karis chose part of the second half of my already-written Mesmer's Waltz (for Tenor Sax, Piano and Bass) for use in this section of the story. Again the instrumental sounds are computer-based voices, not live players, although I was able to get them to sound pretty lively via the computer programming.
This piece is a wholly new work I wrote for this production. It is entirely percussion instruments, found in the Garritan Orchestra (computer-based sounds). I was able to incorporate some very authentic sounds from real African and Asian instruments-but all the notes, durations, attacks, rhythms are all my own creation. This sounds like a collection of really fine live percussionists. In the show itself, one of the other composers added a few heavier percussion sounds to my track.
This is a piano solo, which I wrote and recorded, that I have named Poetic License. It appears here and on the Music from Sirocco CD in its complete form (around six minutes), while Karis used only the first half for her section of the show called Lover's Dance.
Soloist Calms Crowd
In the show itself, this section was a recorded piano solo I wrote and performed myself of a waltz that Bobb Fantauzzo, the Native American flute specialist, played over, in live performance. The Music from Sirocco CD includes that duet. What you hear on this audio sample, however, is a more complete solo piano version of the same tune, played in a 4/4 rhythm instead of a waltz.
This is the most complex piece I wrote for Sirocco. It starts out with a minute or so of very spooky, non-tonal, atmospheric writing that was put to very good use in the dance. This is followed by a longer section that features once again the same 5 & 6 rhythm pattern introduced in Slow 5 & 6 above. This piece has the quality of a very odd-instrumentation orchestra starting out in a sort of brooding, dark manner at first, but that soon gives way to a lighter more lyrical section featuring the bassoon and violin in a peaceful duet, all still following the 11 beat rhythm pattern. Again, the show used only the first 3/4 of this piece; it appears here and on the CD in its entirety.
Waltzing Into Madness
This is a piece written for Sirocco for a very dramatic section involving a fatal fight between the lovers. In the story, the magic Sirocco winds have seized the town and made everyone go mad. The choreographer chose a different piece by another composer for the performance, but the qualities imparted here do convey the idea that things are all becoming detached and unhinged. It is an exercise in a continuous accelerando, leading to a climax that represents the murdered woman's soul torn from her unnaturally: listen for the clanging handbells that sound desperate, spilling out violently, then helplessly finally drifting away. Once again, all the instrumental voices used here are computer-based.
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