Zaida Gaire


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Orpheus Music

Composer: Lewis - Tony

Instrumentation: 2 Descants - 2 Trebles - 2 Tenors - 2 Basses

Period/genre: Australian Contemporary

Grade: Difficult

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*Funky Contemporary Piece with African and Balkan Influences.* The title is simply a spoonerism of the words "Gaida" and "Zaïre" (please note the double-dotted "ï"). The piece~~~~~s subject matter is inspired by a number of contrasting musical cultures that one does not normally think of as being complimentary to one another - including the music of the Bulgarian / Balkan bagpipe, the gaida, and the guitar music of the Central African nation formerly known as Zaïre (now the Congo). There are also elements of Turkish music from the Black Sea region, and of the music of the mbira dzavadzimu, or thumb piano, of the Shona people of Zimbabwe.

1. Zaida Gaire

_Score 11 pp. Parts 2 pp._

  • Reviews
  • Tony Lewis Zaida Gaire

    A deceptively intricate piece for eight players, based on ostinati, with a distinctly African flavour.

    Notewise, this is a simple piece, with instruments frequently doubling their partners.  Starting in 4/4, this through composed piece has 3 sections, with the last section mirroring the opening.  The middle section, however, proves the real test as time signature of 10/8, divided 3+2+2+3, plus intricate rhythmic patterns in many of the parts causes real ensemble problems.  But do not be put off by this - a little time and careful counting from all members of the group should soon gain you success - and the resulting music is both satisfying and very musically effective.

    The parts and score are clearly printed although a few errors were noticed - rests missing in the bass parts does not help when one is frantically counting!

    Jean McCreery, The Recorder Magazine, Winter 2001

    OMP067 Benjamin Thorn Deep Sea Perspectives

    OMP065 Tony Lewis Zaida Gaire

    OMP062 Luigi Irlandini Agnistoma II

    Though very different from each other, these ensemble pieces have something in common: their primary difficulty is rhythmic, not technical.  Benjamin Thorn's Deep Sea Perspectives is the most accessible of the three.  It offers two through-composed movements in a very conservative melodic style with simple tonal harmonies.  The first movement, in G minor, is in a gently-flowing 6/7 meter that is not difficult to negotiate.  The second movement develops from the same initial motif as the first, but recast in C Major and in a 5/8 meter that is sometimes grouped 3+2, other times 2+3.  That wouldn't be terribly hard, were it not for the very fast tempo demanded by Thorn.  At crotchet=150, this movement is quite difficult to maintain.

    Zaida Gaire by Tony Lewis is a rhythmically-driving and highly-repetitive minimal work in a pan-diatonic language.  It sets against each other different melodic/rhythmic patterns, consisting mostly of eighth notes and eighth rests, resulting in an abundance of hockets.  While the individual parts may be fairly easy to play by themselves, performing them together is quite a task.  This piece requires a great deal of precision and focus.

    Luigi Irlandini's Agnistoma II, the least accessible of these works, is uninteresting to play and difficult to execute and conceptualise.  The recorders chromatically hover over narrow tessituras, often clashing with each other in intervals of a second.  Rhythmically it features an aperiodicity that is generated from tying together odd-shaped rhythmic cells.  The rhythmic contours that result from this procedure are extremely complex and precisely notated.  They must also be precisely-performed.

    These editions are nicely printed and have no bad page turns.  Deep Sea Perspectives is suitable for advanced amateurs.  Zaida Gaire requires a very high-end amateur group working with a good teacher.  Agnistoma II is strictly for professionals.

    Pete Rose, American Recorder, March 2003

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