Tuesday, December 15, 2009

SUNY Orange Symphonic Band Reading 'When the Great Owl Sings' of Carlton L. Winston (b. 1990)

[Carlton L. Winston]

AfriClassical has received an email from Carlton L. Winston (b. 1990), a student and composer whose website lists his compositions and provides audio links:
“My name is Carlton L. Winston and I was referred to you by Mr. Kevin Scott, conductor of the SUNY Orange Symphonic Band. He wanted me to send you a bio of myself and a link to my website. Attached to this email is my bio and three compositions that I have composed. I hope you enjoy them. I should also mention that the SUNY Orange Symphonic Band will be doing a reading of the piece entitled "When the Great Owl Sings" within the next few months. You may visit my website. Thank you, Carlton L. Winston
“Carlton L. Winston (b. 1990) is a native of Columbus, OH. He currently attends Columbus State Community College and studies both music composition and education privately. Carlton is a former member of the Ohio University Symphonic Band and one of the Ohio University Tuba-Euphonium Quartets; he plays Euphonium. He currently teaches private Euphonium lessons and basic music theory to young musicians.”

Difficulty Level: 4
Performance Duration: 6 mins.
In Maya mythology, Ah Puch was the god of death and the King of Mitnal, the Underworld which was the worst of the nine levels of Hell. Ah Puch was feared by the Maya people and he still is to this very day. It is believed that the screech of an owl signifies imminent death. The following saying, in local Spanish, indicates: Cuando el tecolote canta… el indio muere (When the great owl sings, the Indian dies). This work is an offering to this malevolent god. When the Great Owl Sings begins with an ominous theme depicting the foreboding environment of Mitnal. We are then introduced to Ah Puch as a corpse adorned with bells. Soon, the cries of the Maya people are heard, but they are not loud enough to drive Ah Puch back to Mitnal. This gives way to the malevolent nature of Ah Puch as he prowls the houses of the Maya people, searching for those who are sick and/or injured. The following lyrical section represents the over whelming grief and sorrow expressed by the Maya people as they try to figure out how to make Ah Puch return to Mitnal. As the grieving seizes, we begin to hear distant trembles and the preparation for an offering to Ah Puch. Violently, the ritual begins as the Maya people offer one of their own as a sacrifice to Ah Puch. The final measures of the piece represent Ah Puch accepting the sacrifice and returning to Mitnal.”

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