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Africa: Ceremony, Song and Ritual

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Robert W. Smith

Robert W. Smith


General Info

Year: 1994 / 2017
Duration: c. 9:00
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Alfred Music Publishing
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $90.00; (digital) - $90.00   |   Score Only (print) - $15.00; (digital) - $15.00


Instrumentation

Full Score
C Piccolo (div. a2)
Flute (div. a2; 1 player doubling C Piccolo)
Oboe (div. a2; 1 player doubling English Horn (optional))
Bassoon (div. a2; 1 player doubling Contrabassoon (optional))
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III (I div. a2)
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III (all div. a3)
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III (all div. a2)
Euphonium
Tuba
Timpani
Percussion I-VIII, including:

  • Bass Drums (2: 1 optional Tom-tom (large))
  • Beaded Gourd
  • Bells
  • Castanets
  • Chimes (extended high range required (high G5))
  • Claves
  • Congas (3)
  • Cowbells (2)
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Finger Cymbals
  • Flexatone
  • Log Drums (4 pitches: 2 drums with 2 pitches on each)
  • Marimba
  • Shaker
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tam-tam
  • Tom-toms (3: large graduated)
  • Wind Chimes


Errata

In Score:

  • Flute, m.139-140: These two measures should be played as written, remove "8va" marking for just these two measures. All other passages between m.138-144 should have an "8va" marking
  • Bassoon, m.1, beat 1: Add a "f" dynamic marking
  • Mallet Percussion, Chimes, m.1, beat 1: Add a "ff" dynamic marking
  • Mallet Percussion, Chimes, m.7: All G5's should be G-flat5
  • Mallet Percussion, Chimes, m.12, beat 1: Add a "ff" dynamic marking
  • Mallet Percussion, Cowbells, m.108-119: Dynamics and hairpin decrescendos should be added to mirror that of m.103-104
  • Mallet Percussion, Cowbells, m.129-130: Hairpin decrescendo should start on beat 1 of m.130 and end before m.131
  • Percussion III, Bells, m.13: All notes should spell a C-flat major chord, meaning all notes in the "C5" position should be C-flat5's, all notes in the "E5" position should be E-flat5's, all notes in the "G5" position should be G-flat5's, and all notes in the "C6" position should be C-flat6's.
  • Percussion III, Bells, m.14, beat 1: Both C-flats should be C-naturals
  • Percussion III, Beaded Gourd, m.48, beat 1: Add an accent onto the quarter note
  • Percussion III, Bells, m.183: Add a hairpin crescendo starting from beat 2 and ending before m.184. Also, add a "fff" dynamic marking at the end of the crescendo


In Parts:

  • Piccolo, m.42: "cresc. poco a poco" marking should start on the and of beat 2
  • Piccolo, m.94: Hairpin decrescendo should start on beat 4
  • Piccolo, m.94, beat 4 (beat 2): F5 should be a F-sharp5
  • Piccolo, m.95: Hairpin crescendo should start on beat 10 (beat 4)
  • Piccolo, m.101: Both F4's should be F-sharp4
  • Piccolo, m.141-144: The "8va" marking starting on m.141 should last through m.144
  • Piccolo, m.162, and of beat 1: Add a "f" dynamic marking
  • Flute, m.7-8: Add a slur starting from the first sixteenth note of beat 4 on m.7 to the whole note on m.8
  • Flute, m.26: Hairpin crescendo should start on the and of beat 1 and should end before beat 3
  • Flute, m.73: Hairpin crescendo should start on beat 3
  • Flute, m.90: Hairpin crescendo should start on beat 3
  • Flute, m.91: Add a staccato on the eighth note for both instruments in the divisi
  • Flute, m.93: Hairpin crescendo should start on beat 7 (beat 3)
  • Flute, m.94: Hairpin decrescendo should start on beat 10 (beat 4)
  • Flute, m.95: Hairpin crescendo should start on beat 10 (beat 4)
  • Flute, m.99: Hairpin crescendo should start on beat 7 (beat 3)
  • Flute, m.101: Hairpin crescendo should start on beat 7 (beat 3)
  • Flute, m.146: Missing marking "Band ad lib. 'native' vocals"
  • Flute, m.150: Hairpin crescendo should end before beat 4
  • Flute, m.154: "cresc." marking should be on beat 1
  • Flute, m.162, and of beat 1: Add a "f" dynamic marking
  • Flute, m.165: Hairpin crescendo should start on beat 1
  • Oboe, m.98: E5 should be a D5
  • Bassoon, m.1: Add a hairpin crescendo starting from beat 3 and ending before m.2
  • Bassoon, m.97, beat 4 (beat 2): G3 should be a A3
  • Bassoon, m.102-103: Add a tie between the dotted half note on m.102 to the eighth note on m.103
  • Alto Saxophone I, m.182-183: Remove the bottom divisi, play top voice only
  • Alto Saxophone II, m.182-183: Remove the top divisi, play bottom voice only
  • Horn I, m.182-184: Remove the bottom divisi, play top voice only
  • Horn II, m.182-184: Remove the top divisi, play bottom voice only
  • Tuba, m.1: Add a hairpin crescendo starting from beat 3 and ending before m.2
  • Mallet Percussion, Cowbells, m.19: Hairpin crescendo should start on the "ah" of beat 1 and end before m.20
  • Mallet Percussion, Cowbells, m.22: "dim." marking should be on beat 1
  • Mallet Percussion, Marimba, m.98: Hairpin decrescendo should start on beat 1
  • Mallet Percussion, Marimba, m.100: Remove hairpin decrescendo, then add a hairpin crescendo that starts from beat 7 (beat 3) and ends before m.101
  • Mallet Percussion, Marimba, m.101: Hairpin crescendo should start on beat 7 (beat 3)
  • Mallet Percussion, Marimba, m.101, beat 7 (beat 3): C5 should be a D5
  • Mallet Percussion, Suspended Cymbal, m.160, beat 1: Remove accent from eighth note
  • Timpani, m.146-157: Change all eighth rests to quarter rests
  • Percussion III, Bells, m.12, beat 1: Change "fff" dynamic marking to a "ff"
  • Percussion III, Bells, m.13: Remove hairpin crescendo
  • Percussion III, Beaded Gourd, m.49, beat 1: Add a "mf" dynamic marking
  • Percussion III, Shaker, m.98: Hairpin decrescendo should start on beat 1 and end before m.99
  • Percussion III, Castanets, m.141: "cresc." marking should be on beat 1


In Score and Parts:

  • Piccolo, m.41, and of beat 2: G5 should be a F5
  • Piccolo, m.139-140: These two measures should be played as written, remove "8va" marking for just these two measures. All other passages between m.138-144 should have an "8va" marking
  • Piccolo, m.150, beat 1: Add an accent on the C5 dotted half note
  • Flute, m.24, beat 1: The second sixteenth note A5 should be a B-flat5
  • Flute, m.41, and of beat 2: G6 should be a F6
  • Flute, m.46: Remove "fff" dynamic marking
  • Oboe, m.41, and of beat 2: G5 should be a F5
  • Bassoon, m.69-70: If using Contrabassoon for solo, switch back to Bassoon after m.70. The "All (div.)" notation on m.71 only denotes Bassoons.
  • Trumpet III, m.175, beat 1: C5 should be a D5
  • Tuba, m.3, beat 1: Add an accent onto the whole note
  • Mallet Percussion, Marimba, m.100, beat 7 (beat 3): Top two notes of the chord should be changed from a B4 and D5 to a C5 and E5
  • Mallet Percussion, Chimes, m.171-176: Remove the natural from the third note of each triplet on beat 1 of each measure, making each E5 an E-flat5
  • Timpani, m.44, and of beat 2: C3 should be a D3
  • Percussion III, Bells, m.9, beat 1: E5 should be an E-flat5
  • Percussion III, Bells, m.171-176: All C-flat5's and G-flat5's (the perfect 5th on each beat) should be C-natural5 and G-natural5
  • Percussion III, Bells, m.177-178: All C-flat5's (lower octave C) should be C-natural5. Keep the G-flat marking

- Potential errata noted by Matthew LeFebvre


Program Notes

Africa: Ceremony, Song, and Ritual is based on the primitive folk music of Western Africa. Inspired by the recording and research of Mr. Stephen Jay, the work features traditional ceremonial music for dance and entertainment as well as dynamic percussive invocations and historical songs.

African musicians feel that they bring life to their instruments just as God gives life to the musician. As a result, individual instruments are believed to possess consciousness and are treated with the same respect and reverence given to an honored living person. The drum, the featured section of this work, is considered a sacred object as well as a musical instrument. It is believed to be endowed with a mysterious power which has been incomprehensible to the many missionaries and early travelers on the African continent. As one listens, the mind experiences a wide range of emotions including joy, fear, hope, and grief.

Oya "Primitive Fire" recreates man's conquest of fire. In the beginning of time, man discovered that he could create the elusive power by striking two flints together. He gathered his sticks and dry leaves and kindled them. The flames begin to rise very slowly, yet steadily building higher and higher into a large writhing body of energy spreading across the horizon. Suddenly, it begins to fade ... slowly ... losing life ... then the last spark ascends to the heavens and leaves the earth in darkness.

The Ancient Folk Song originates from Ghana, situated in the tropical belt of West Africa. It is a land of lush tropical beaches and rocky lagoons. The peaceful tranquility of this beautiful country was first disturbed by European settlers in the 1500s as Ghana became the center for exporting slaves and gold. As a result, the area became known as the Gold Coast. A secondary melody based on the folk song Marilli weaves throughout the final statement of the original theme.

With thunder and lightening as his weapon, Shango, the God of Thunder, revisits the earth. To herald his return, his devotees chant this invocationary praise. The big and small drums made of hollow trees and the skins of rams resound throughout the night as circles of worshipers dance to a frenzied state. The joyous opening statement returns amid the primal percussion, drawing the work to an exhausting conclusion.

Africa: Ceremony, Song and Ritual was commissioned by and is dedicated to the New Trier High School Band, Winnetka, Illinois, John A. Thomson, Conductor.

- Program Note by composer


Media


State Ratings

  • Minnesota: Category I


Performances

To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Cape Town (South Africa) Philharmonic Wind Ensemble (Faan Malan, conductor) – 8 September 2022
  • San Diego (Calif.) State University Symphonic Band (Thomas Finch, conductor) – 4 March 2022
  • Bethel College (Mishawaka, Ind.) Wind Ensemble (Vicky Warkentien, conductor) – 15 November 2018
  • Colorado Wind Ensemble (Denver) (David Kish, conductor) – 19 May 2018
  • Duquesne University (Pittsburgh, Penn.) Symphony Band (Robert Cameron, conductor) – 31 October 2017
  • Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge) Symphonic Band (Kelvin Jones, conductor) – 22 November 2016
  • [[Concerts:Category 5 Wind Ensemble, Inc.|Category 5 Wind Ensemble, Inc. (Charlie Fix, conductor) – 8 March 2014
  • University of Minnesota, Duluth, Concert Band (Daniel Eaton, conductor) – 10 November 2013
  • Ohlone Wind Orchesta (Tony Clements, conductor) – 11 March 2012
  • Liverpool High School Concert Band (James R. Dumas, conductor) – 16 May 2012


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