Valerie Coleman’s Afro-Cuban Concerto for woodwind quintet stretches the limitations of the ensemble by pushing each instrument to their technical limits. Her use of Afro-Cuban rhythms and mixed meters combined with virtuosic writing for all instruments creates a flavor that leaves listeners in awe. The three-movement Afro-Cuban Concerto is a composition that highlights Afro-Cuban rhythms, the characteristics of Santerían worship, and the virtuosic capabilities of wind instruments. Often categorized as a “neo-classical” work because of the form and harmonic structure, the spirit of the work is purely African and Cuban. The first movement, Afro, represents the voice of worshippers within Santería. The clave rhythm is the driving force of the movement with the winds demonstrating their virtuosic abilities with solo passages. The second movement, Vocalise, opens like a prayer with the horn and the bassoon playing the melody in unison. A three-note habanera motif is present throughout most of the movement. A short tutti introduces the final movement, Danza where the flute solo foreshadows a percussive role for the instrument throughout the movement while the rhumba, and its many variations drive the finale of this composition. Each wind player in the third movement is given a solo meant to sound improvised. The Danza movement is the most challenging movement of the concerto due to the speed of the rhumba and the demand for stability through many layers of percussive rhythms the group is playing. Coleman brings a new flavor to the woodwind quintet repertory by paying homage to the roots of Afro-Cuban music. In this paper, I will examine the Afro-Cuban traditions Coleman borrows from in her concerto for woodwind quintet.
|Advisor:||Doyle, Alicia M|
|Commitee:||Grego, Michele, Arnold, Jermie|
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|Department:||Bob Cole Conservatory of Music|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 81/4(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Music, Musical composition, Music history|
|Keywords:||Afro-Cuban, Bassoon, Coleman, Performance, Quintet|
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