LARGE CHAMBER ENSEMBLE - Hot Zone (1995)
Duration - 8:00
flute/piccolo, oboe/english horn, clarinet, alto/tenor saxophone, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trumbone, 2 percussion, piano, violin 1 (soparo 1), violin 2 (soparo 2), viola, cello, doublebass/bass guitar
Hot Zone (1998, rev. 2008) is a short work in three oarts, reinterpreting one particular beat in various rhythmic contexts. Much ofthe ,aterial in the piece is based on the West African gyil is a 14- to 18-key instrument reemblung a Western marimba. Tuned slabs of carved mahogany wood are bound with animal hide to a sturdy wooden frame. Each key has its own gourd resonator; crushed and flattened spiders' webs are seared with rubber over holes carved in the gourd, creating a buzzing membrane as the keys are struck. Most of the gyil's notes fall between the pitches of the Western chromatic scale, and two gyils may differ widely in pitches. To produce the "in-between" notes, I utilized two clashing pentatonic modes, played in different octaves.
Hot Zone was commissioned and premiered by the Dogs of Desire, conducted by David Allan Miller. the sung text i the shower sections is a praise to my xylophone teachers: Ngmen Baaru, Richard Na-Ile, and Bernard Woma. This arrangement was adapted specifically for Alarm Will Sound, with assistance from Andrew McKenna Lee.