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Zarabanda (pno red)
Joseph Turrin
solo xylo/marimba w/ piano
Quantity in Basket: none
Code: 16432
Price: $25.00
Shipping Weight: 0.25 pounds

Solo Xylophone & Marimba w/ Piano Accompaniment
2- and 4-mallet
Duration ca. 5:00

Purchase the full wind ensemble set (score & parts)


Full Recording

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Solo Xylophone, Marimba (4.3 octaves)
Optional Timbales, Bongos, Congas & Tom-Toms


I composed Zarabanda for a Latin American recording project with RCA Records and percussionist Evelyn Glennie. Although the recording project was never realized by RCA, I decided that the work would make a wonderful vehicle for Ms. Glennie along with wind ensemble accompaniment.

The piece is in several sections with a Latin style rhythm that occasionally gets interrupted by accented outbursts from the ensemble. The soloist alternates between the xylophone, for the more accented staccato passages and scales, and the marimba, for the more melodic material. As the piece develops and moves from section to section, new rhythmic and melodic ideas are introduced. The piece culminates with a bravura cadenza - the soloist performing rapid-fire staccatos and scales on the xylophone. There is also an optional cadenza, which calls for the additional skills of playing the timbales, bongos, tom-toms, and conga drum. The piece concludes with a quick coda as the solo xylophone and ensemble build a fiery rhythmic syncopation. There are more rapidly accented staccatos, a quick scale, and the final bar.

The zarabanda is a late 16th and 17th century Spanish dance in a lively alternating 6/8 and 3/4 time. Some evidence suggests that the zarabanda originated in the Spanish colonies in America, making it the first popular Latin American dance. Other evidence seems to suggest an African origin. A possible scenario might be that the zarabanda was brought to Spain by the Moors during the 12th Century, but was heavily modified by American influences during the early 16th Century.

The zarabanda and its French descendant, the sarabande, were very different dances. While the French dance was a slow dance in 3/4 time, the Spanish original was very lively, alternating between 6/8 and 3/4 time. In the beginning, the zarabanda was considered very indecent. Cervantes writes about the "diabolic zarabanda" in one of his short stories, and in 1583, a law was passed against singing the zarabanda. The penalties for breaking it were banishment for women and 200 whiplashes and 6 years of galley service for men.

Joseph Turrin (b. 1947) is a greatly valued contributor to contemporary American musical life thanks to his wide-ranging activities as a composer, orchestrator, conductor, pianist, and teacher.

He studied composition at the Eastman School of Music and the Manhattan School of Music, and has pursued a career that has always been multifaceted. As a composer, he has produced works in many genres. Among the many commissioned works in his catalogue, highlights include Hemispheres commissioned for Kurt Masur's final concert with the New York Philharmonic in May 2002 and taken on tour by Masur and the orchestra to Europe and Asia in June 2002, his concertos for flute (commissioned for Carol Wincence and the New Jersey Symphony) and for trumpet (commissioned by the New York Philharmonic for Philip Smith, its principal trumpet, and conducted at its 1989 premiere by Erich Leinsdorf), the chamber works Riffs and Fanfares (The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center), Arcade (New Jersey Chamber Music Society), Quadrille (West Point Military Academy), Chronicles (twelve American Universities for Philip Smith), Modinha (Orpheus Chamber Orchestra) and numerous other commissions. The New York Philharmonic, both as an ensemble and through several of its individual members, has cultivated a longstanding relationship with Turrin. In addition to Hemispheres, the Trumpet Concerto (which Kurt Masur has also led with the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig), the Philharmonic-commissioned Two Gershwin Portraits (which Mr. Masur and the Orchestra premiered at the "New York 100 Celebration Concert" in Central Park in 1998, with trumpet soloists Wynton Marsalis and Philip Smith), Turrin has composed several pieces for the Orchestra's brass section, including Jazzalogue No. 1 (featured on the Orchestra's 1997 Latin American tour) and West Side Story Suite (commissioned and premiered at Carnegie Hall in 2000 by the Philharmonic's brass section). In addition, he has composed numerous solo and chamber works to spotlight the talents of several Philharmonic musicians. Most recently his Trombone Concerto, Illuminations, was recorded by Joseph Alessi for Summit Records. His Fandango was performed on "Live From Lincoln Center" in July, 2002 by Kurt Masur and the NY Philharmonic and hosted by Beverly Sills. He is also a regular composer for the New York Philharmonic’s popular Holiday Brass series at Avery Fisher Hall with the Canadian Brass and the NY Philharmonic Principal Brass. As part of this series in 2007, he composed and conducted the premiere of his work The Fir Tree narrated by Bob McGrath from Sesame Street. His opera The Scarecrow was commissioned by a consortium of twelve universities and had its premiere at the University of Texas at Austin. Mr. Turrin was Composer in Residence at the University of Texas in 2006.

Active as a composer, and conductor for film and theatre, Turrin lists among his many credits the scores for Alan Alda's film A New Life, Little Darlings, Weeds (with Nick Nolte), Tough Guys Don't Dance (Directed by Norman Mailer), Verna-USO Girl (with Sissy Spacek and William Hurt and nominated for 3 Emmy Awards), Nightmare on Elm Street 3, Kingdom of Shadows (narrated by Rod Steiger), Broken Blossoms (1919 silent film classic directed by D.W. Griffith, starring Lillian Gish) and for the restoration of the silent film classic Sadie Thompson. Other silent film classics that he has scored include, Diary of a Lost Girl, Intolerance, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. His work in musical theater includes performances on Broadway with Michael Feinstein as well as the score for Frankie, with a libretto by Broadway legend George Abbott. Other theater works by Turrin include the opera Feathertop, Love Games and The Barricade. He also did the orchestrations for the 1992 Olympic Fanfare for the summer Olympic ceremonies in Barcelona, Spain. Several of his films and recording projects have been nominated for Emmy and Grammy Awards.

Turrin has appeared as a conductor with the Pittsburgh, Baltimore, New Orleans, Detroit, and New Jersey Symphonies; he has performed as a pianist on many recordings and as orchestral pianist for the New Jersey Symphony. He has received awards and grants from the United Nations (for contributions in the arts), ASCAP, American Music Center, first prize in the 2004 National Band Association's William Revelli Composition Contest, and Seven Fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, in addition to the Ann M. Alburger Award for Chamber Music. In 2006, he was awarded an honorary Masters of Humane Letters from the Eastman School of Music and the University of Rochester. He is on the composition faculty of the Hartt School of Music and Montclair State University. In 2007, his opera The Scarecrow was selected as a finalist by the American Academy of Arts and Letters Richard Rodgers Committee and the National Opera Association.

Kurt Masur said about Mr. Turrin's music: "I have always liked composers who are reflecting upon the musical sound of their country. Joseph Turrin does it in a very convincing way. I have taken great delight from getting to know his scores, which I have conducted in New York, in Europe, and in Asia."



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