Subtitle: Five Allegories for Wind Symphony
1. King Mangoberry’s Triumphant Entrance
2 Princess Cherrygus Reveals Her Dream
3. Sir Lempple Contemplates His Reflection in the Mirror - 4:45
4. Jester Rumffee’s Juggling Fixation - 3:58
5. Wizzard Walconut’s Unwelcome Spell & Exit of King Mangoberry and His Entourage - 5:45
(Needed, please join the WRP if you can help.)
None discovered thus far.
On the surface, Allegories of King Mangoberry seems to bridge the world of Walt Disney and subjects like biodiversity and multiculturalism. Commissioned by the University of South Carolina, each of the five movements comprising this suite evokes an imaginary scene that plays out in a fictitious royal court made up of exotic -- and fully organic -- characters. Each of the characters' names is derived from the unlikely combination of produce indigenous to disparate geographies: mango and strawberry, cherry and asparagus, walnut and coconut, and so on.
At a deeper level, however, Allegories of King Mangoberry draws inspiration from the worlds of Noam Chomsky and Sigmund Freud in order to comment upon the politics of identity. This cryptic dimension of the work is revealed not only in the titles of the movements but, most importantly, in the unfolding of the music itself.
But to tell the story of how this suite for wind symphony came about, one has to go back twenty-five years, before even the term “diversity” was a buzzword. In 1993, I composed an overture commissioned by the Dayton Philharmonic in Ohio. Due to unusual circumstances, I wrote a three-minute overture for a symphony orchestra minus the strings. I titled it King Mangoberry’s Triumphant Entrance after a serendipitous transcultural experience I had during a visit by a musician friend to my homeland of Venezuela. Unburdened by cultural prescriptions, my native New Yorker friend had the audacity to order a blend of fresh mango and strawberry at a typical fruit juice stand. The startled face of the Venezuelan waiter taking the order, who couldn’t understand how those two flavors could co-exist in the same drink, was in sharp contrast with what turned out to be a wonderful new blend of tastes: less acidic than mango, tangier than strawberry, a little muskier than peach. This experience got me thinking about the many unique opportunities we often miss because of limitations caused by biases and fears embedded in our cultural upbringings. Considering the World’s current socio-political climate, I feel that this predicament resonates even louder today than it did back in 1993.
Fast forward to 2013. Several dozen performances after the Dayton Philharmonic’s premiere of King Mangoberry’s Triumphant Entrance, conductor Cormac Cannon, at the time Michigan State University’s assistant director of bands, finds himself performing this brief overture with the MSU Concert Band. I was so impressed with how my colleague took to the work that during rehearsals I was already daydreaming of expanding the overture into a larger conceptual work. “He gets it,” I remember thinking. And to be honest, it was only after I felt Cormac’s genuine interest and curiosity for what the project could become that I set to create, like Dr. Frankenstein, other makeshift characters relying on hybrid names of disparate produce. And who better to brainstorm over names of strange organic creatures than my own children? I owe such ludicrous names to my sons (or rather I blame it on them!). Imagining the music to illustrate these characters in sound came later.
More importantly, coming up with a whole cast of hybrid characters for King Mangoberry's court helped me realize the poignant message that laid underneath the whimsical names. The fact is that I understand very well the importance of embracing difference and striving to achieve diversity in our work places, communities and lives in general. My family and I are proud beneficiaries of this necessary human aspiration. By the same token, however, I have come to realize that diversity is an elusive construct that lives in our minds and is often twisted or manipulated for ulterior, usually self-serving motives by those who are more interested in seeking power than in achieving equality. I am sure it hasn’t been lost on anyone that having such exceptionally diverse names like Walconutor Cherrygus cast under a royal hierarchical structure is completely oxymoronic. Diversity to serve the interests of a king and his kingdom? Here lies the dilemma that fuels the symbolism and music of Allegories of King Mangoberry.
I am indebted to my friend Cormac Cannon. He has made this involved project possible not only through providing the necessary funding and the musical resources of the University of South Carolina Symphonic Winds but also through providing me with technical, artistic, and conceptual guidance throughout the long process of creating this work.
- Program Note by composer
None discovered thus far.
None discovered thus far.
To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project
- Michigan State University (East Lansing) Wind Symphony (Kevin Sedatole, conductor) – 25 October 2018
- The University of South Carolina (Columbia) Symphonic Winds (Cormac Cannon, conductor) – 23 February 2018 (CBDNA 2018 Southern Conference, Tampa, Fla.) *Premiere Performance*
Works for Winds by this Composer
- El Muro (2008)
- King Mangoberry (2018)
- Pataruco (1999/2019)
- Cormac Cannon, personal correspondence, March 2018
- Ricardo Lorenz website Accessed 13 March 2018