Stone Dance of the Chameleon

Many years ago I was commissioned by the writer Ricardo Pinto to write the music for his trilogy The Stone Dance of the Chameleon. At the time, Ricardo was quite clear about what he wanted me to write and asked me to listen to 3 composers before writing the works which conjured up the atmosphere of the trilogy and also specifically focussed on a character from the book that had 4 arms, and therefore 4 hands which played a harp type instrument! The 3 composers luckily happened to be 3 of my favourites anyway so it was a joy to absorb more in their music as part of the process of preparing to compose the composition. They were J.S Bach, William Byrd and Toumani Diabate (The Malian kora player).
The number 3 was very significant throughout this work. It is in 3 parts, with a coda section at the end/finale. This composition is in 3 different keys (E flat major, C minor and F minor) and the 3 sections represent the 3 Gods: that are the holy trinity of the mother, the father and the child.
Compositionally there are 4 parts played at once, shared between the 2 hands, trying to represent 4 hands, or at least, 2 parts within the 2 hands of the character however, this is played solely by myself for solo harp so is quite an athletic harp composition with a lot of repeated motives throughout to help give it momentum.
The work begins and ends with a very typical kora/African harp style of intro and outro and ends complete on the tonic chord with a 2nd in the right hand.
This always has a very joyful association for me when I play the composition as I was asked to perform in The Usher Hall for HH Dalai Lama on his first visit to Scotland. I played a shortened version of this work and felt quite an appropriate piece to play for the event.
Design by Ricardo Pinto
Sheet music is also available.
Do hope you enjoy!

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