Hatshepsut's Chant and Dance
Instrumentation: Solo and Piano Instruments: Bassoon, Tuba
with Piano; Queen Hatshepsut was one of the most enigmatic and interesting figures in ancient Egyptian history. She was the only woman to ever rule as "pharaoh" at a time when only males were allowed to hold that position. For this reason she is often depicted in carvings and drawings of the period wearing a beard or a man's clothing. She also had a secret love affair with an architect named Senmut, who designed many beautiful buildings in her day, including the dramatic Deir El-Bahari temple carved out of a jagged cliff in Thebes. Since no music of that period survives, this work is an imagining of a secret chant and private dance Hatshepsut may have performed for Senmut. The work begins with strange and beguiling chants in the bassoon, including exotic "multiphonics." (Bassoon fingerings for the mutiphonics are included with the score and part.) These are accompanied in the piano with musical gestures reflecting the closing of large, stone,tomb doors, marches of the temple priests, and amagical sprinkling of ancient chords. The dance that follows is in the spirit of the infamous "Dance of the Seven Veils," in which, during each section the female dancer sheds another layer of covering and increases the pace. beginning slowly, each of the seven sections build in peed and motion leader both the dancer and her audience into a furious, wild, spinning finale.