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Soprano Saxophone from Zaspo Janko (Lepe Moje)

Les Tziganes du Bocage

Composer
Trad. Croatia/Serbia
Publisher
Duration
6 minutes
Genre
World music

This is not strictly of Romany provenance, but probably comes from the Kosovo region, although, as always with Balkan folk songs, there is much heated dispute as to its origins. The lyrics concern a beautiful black eyed youth lying asleep under an apple/poplar tree. The brooding darkness of the music suggests imminent doom!

I felt compelled to include it in our Gypsy suite simply because it’s sultry power melded so well with the other tunes. Anyway, one of the fantastic things about arranging Romany music is that there are no rules. This culture collected influence across half the globe & over 1000 years, & in return influenced every culture it touched.

This is the fifth song in our ’Romany Journey’ suite. A suite of seven Gypsy songs arranged for choir, childrens choir, soloists & full youth symphony orchestra with rhythm section. The suite was premiered at the Colston Hall, Bristol, UK, July 6th 2013. Here’s the YouTube footage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5g14lW91et4&list=PLyCbOs7sB3AoCTHjuZgfkF57zIdu-H92O&index=5 It is, of course, possible to adapt for smaller forces, something I may do myself in due course.

As well as individual instrument parts we have produced ’section scores’ for flute 4tet, oboe/clarinets 4tet, saxes/bassoon 5tet, combined woodwind, brass 8tet, rhythm section & string 4tet (no Viola). Also kids choir & choral score. N.B. These ’section scores’ are not ’stand alone’ scores, ie they are not complete without other parts, but they are designed to make sectional rehearsal easier & more enjoyable.

In general I think it’s fair to say that the suite is a great crowd pleaser & performers love it too. The choral parts are in strange languages of course, but have been designed to minimise that burden. Our un-auditioned choir performed the entire suite from memory without much difficulty. The flamboyance & dramatic nature of Romany music means that it succeeds in connecting with people even when played quite roughly. When performed well, it’s beauty becomes exquisite.

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