Riders of the Dark Pale Winds

Larry Brian Binns

About this work:
Aldous Huxley once stated: “After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” Like so many, I watched with utter despair, vulnerability, and dismay as Hurricane Katrina ravaged and shattered lives and property. Many of those who chose to “ride out” the storm did so out of necessity not desire. Hence, the title of the composition: “Riders of the Dark Pale Winds”. Their impoverished status and not a false bravado was the underlying rationale for choosing to stay. I was inspired to memorialize the human suffering of this horrific event by “expressing the inexpressible” through music. Musically, the composition is written in simple song or binary form using Sibelius notation software with Garritan Personal Orchestra. Sound Forge was used to create the final soundtrack. The rich deep timbre of the baritone voice is well suited for this lament in the midst of terror. The lyrical content of the composition encapsulates and surmises the formation of the storm, its destructiveness, and the aftermath. The raindrops are the prelude to the storm, a harbinger that is proclaimed by the arpeggios in the pizzicato strings. Next the tempestuous winds and brutal storm surge with its violent waves can be heard amid shrilling outcries depicted by the French horns. The unrelenting ferocity of Katrina is portrayed by the taut harmonic elements and the persistent fortissimo maintained throughout the composition, especially evident in the lower brass. The “eye” of the storm is heralded by the synthesized chirping sounds of birds and a mellowed French horn, oboe, and trumpet that echo the baritone’s melody line. Finally, “after the eye wall” is musically depicted by the stronger musical elements harmonically and melodically. Katrina and her victims will always retain a place in the annals of historical disasters. A disaster I feel was wrought by an inept and indifferent bureaucracy. The piece was written specifically for baritonist Howard Swyers. Mr. Swyers is considered to be one of the premiere young singers in the Midwest. He is a doctoral student attending Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music. Mr. Swyers performed the piece live with just the soundtrack. binnsmusic.com
Year composed: 2005
Duration: 00:04:00
Ensemble type: Voice, Solo or With Chamber or Jazz Ensemble
Instrumentation: 1 Baritone
Instrumentation notes: Garritan Personal Orchestra

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