59,620 Years — A Ballet — (The Return of Mars)

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59,620 YEARS — A Ballet in One Scene

The title is in reference to the fact that in 2003 the planet Mars made its closest approach to Earth in the last 59,620 years. Aldo Vitagliano, of the University of Naples in Italy, calculated that Mars hasn’t had as close a brush with Earth since September 12, 57,617 B.C., when Neanderthals ruled but modern man had begun to make inroads. When I was writing this piece I was envisioning in my mind short ballet to go with the music. The form of the piece is a simple arch, A (slow introduction in 4/4 time), B (the "chant" section of alternating time signatures and a slow increase in tempo), C (the central calm section in 11/4 time, basically a passacaglia that build ups as each voice is added then slows thins out as each voice drops out), The return of the B section and finally the return of the A section acting as a coda

Ballet Outline
Section A (4/4)

o Through the void of space Mars approached ancient Earth.

Section B (Mixed Meters)

o Fearful a Neanderthal shaman prays to the clan’s gods. o Slowly the clan joins the shaman in praying to their gods. o The prayer becomes a chant o The chanting breaks into a chaotic dance o The shaman start to pray again.

Section C (11/4)

o While the clan sleeps the red star waxes and wanes in the autumn sky.

Section B (mixed meters) (Return of)

o The Shaman starts to pray again. o Slowly the clan joins the shaman in praying to their gods. o The prayer becomes a chant o The chanting breaks into a chaotic dance

Section A (4/4) (Return of) (Coda)

o Through the void of space Mars returns.

Score ID
Year of composition
Difficult (Grades 7+)
11 minutes
Wind quartet
Modern classical music

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