Subtitle: Phantasmagorical for Concert Band
Year: 1985 / 2016
Duration: c. 7:00
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Stewart Grant Music
Cost: Score and Parts - Stewart Grant
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
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
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
- Bass Drum
- Cowbells (2)
- Crash Cymbals
- Suspended Cymbal
- Temple Blocks (3)
- Tom-Toms (3)
None discovered thus far.
Rakshasas are demons in the Hindu epic the Ramayana.
In the story, the Rakshasa king, Ravana, abducts Rama's wife, Sita, and carries her off to his kingdom, Lanka -- which is essentially present-day Sri Lanka. What ensues is a war in which Rama, with the help of his brother and an army of monkeys and bears, defeats the Rakshasas and frees Sita.
The piece does not in any way try to depict the story, but the idea behind it is that the ostinato played in the opening by the timpani -- and ultimately by the whole ensemble -- is like a demon, a kind of ear worm that will not go away and persists even as the ensemble goes through various different moods, textures and keys, giving it different harmonic implications and characters in each tonality. It all ultimately builds to a great climax, at which point the ostinato finally moves up a semi-tone. The energy then winds down until the whole band suddenly goes crazy, as it belts out a final variation of the demonic theme.
In writing this piece, I was thinking of the ensemble as being almost like a very large jazz band, with the solos in the trumpet, sax and flute being the equivalent of the improvised solos that you would have in a piece of jazz.
Rakshasa was commissioned by the Alberta Band Association, in celebration of International Youth Year, with the assistance of the Alberta Youth Year Secretariat and the Canadian Music Centre (Prairie Region). It was first performed in the fall of 1985 by the Grande Prairie College Wind Ensemble, conducted by Jeremy Brown, at the annual conference of the Alberta Band Association. The revised version was produced in 2016. It was first performed on February 2, 2019, by the McGill Wind Orchestra under the direction of Alain Cazes.
- Program Note by composer
(Needed - please join the WRP if you can help.)
None discovered thus far.
To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project
- McGill University (Montreal, Que.) Wind Orchestra (Alain Cazes, conductor) – 2 February 2019 *Premiere Performance of Revised Version*
Works for Winds by This Composer
- Dalhousie's Bequest
- Pastorale and Fugue
- Rakshasa (1985/2016)
- Serenata Estria
- Wind Quintet (1999)
- Grant, S. (1985). Rakshasa [score]. Alberta Band Association: [Alberta?].
- Stewart Grant, personal correspondence
- Stewart Grant website Accessed 28 January 2019