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Dialects-4 In African Pianism “Lullaby” Op. 23, 1991 Program Notes
This bi-sectional piece is essentially a meditation on one of the tunes of Pappoe Thompson - a Ghanaian choral music composer. It derives its structure from the nature of the pine apple. In this fruit is the ultimate sweetness. However, nature does not make it easy for us to get to it. First, we have to confront the surrounding protective spikes. The fruit itself has a rather tough covering and internal spine. Such is the nature of Dialects-4. The introduction consists of, first, uncomfortably juxtaposed 4ths and 2nds for the first 2 measures. This is followed by a rather delicate but passionate tertian-derived passage. At the ends of the introductory statements, deep sighs are encountered, usually in the form of a pause and located in the lower register. In the later part of the introduction, mm. 26 – 34, the initial phrase of Pappoe’s theme is suggested. Mm. 36-57 constitute the first section of the piece. In it, Pappoes theme is presented, spliced up, extended and as in all cases, re-harmonized. Pappoe’s 8-measure first section has now been transformed into 57 measures. This first section is varied as it is repeated mm 59-77/19. Mm. 54-57 & 77-80/3.5 are essentially codettas. Mm. 81-83 is analogous to a question or exclamation and heralds the second part of the piece. It is also quartally conceived. The second section, mm. 84-103/20 has a closer correspondence to that of Pappoe. Mm. 104-114 constitutes the closing section with materials already presented in the body of the piece. This short piece is as passionate as the pine apple is sweet. Because of its essentially calm nature, the title has now been changed from the Pine Apple to simply a Lullaby. E. Gyimah Labi Essex County College North Brunswick NJ 2001
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