The Pripet Marshes

For: String quartet
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The Pripet Marshes


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Year of composition
Difficult (Grades 7+)
10 minutes
Modern classical music
License details
For anything not permitted by the above licence then you should contact the publisher first to obtain permission.

This piece is "Winner of a 2003 Marmor Composition Award" (funded by the Marmor Foundation through the Department of Music at Stanford University). The purpose of the competition is to "enlarge the repertory of chamber music with clarinet." This rhapsody for clarinet quintet (clarinet plus string quartet, or for clarinet plus string orchestra) is inspired by the poem, "The Pripet Marshes" by Irving Feldman. This haunting poem describes how the narrator might put himself in the shoes of an omnipotent power, and transplant his friends to a Jewish village in the northwest Ukraine during World War II. Each person is a unique character with a human charm and frailties. Then he would snatch the village back to safety before the arrival of the Nazis. While the music does not directly mirror the story–this is not programmatic music–it does try to reflect the mood of the poem. Jewish-style melodies sweep through the piece with a whisper of Klezmer.

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