Trickster Coyote – Lightening Elk by Malcolm Forsyth, duration 18′
Concerto for violin and orchestra
2(picc)222/4231/Timp, 2 Perc: Mohawk rattle, pow-wow drum, Glockenspiel/Harp, Piano*/Strings. (*Piano is Opt. and may substitute or be added to Harp)
Set of solo violin and piano reduction
You can hear this piece through this link. There is an animation created to be shown as the music is played live, which is available for rental.
Program notes by the composer:
The work was commissioned by Canadian violinist, Tara-Louise Montour, whose own Mohawk heritage was the central theme to be explored. Several themes are borrowed from traditional social songs, chants and dances of various Aboriginal peoples of North America. The use of rattle and drum is an obvious influence in the work, which melds the Western music tradition, with its symphony orchestra and its thematic development, with these various themes and their instruments. The four movements are played without break, totalling eighteen minutes, and exemplify different aspects of the various aboriginal nations: We-nu-ya-neh is a social dance-song of many in the Iroquois nation. Two of the four compass directions and their characters appear in movements 2 and 3: Eagle: “Sees far” and Bear: “Looks within”. Eagle is a soft evocation of flight, the violin soaring against rushing, air-like figures in strings and harp. Bear is a somber and passionate piece with a big orchestral climax. The finale, Seven Arrows, is forceful and rhythmic; stabbing and angular figures vie with a central section marked Tranquil, where harp and solo violin sing a traditional pentatonic melody. An oft-repeated, chant-like melody is featured in the bass instruments throughout, and also in the final crescendo, with the ritualistic drum and rattle pulsing incessantly.