Night of Fire

Michael Robinson

About this work:
Night of Fire began with a visit to the African wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. While sitting in front of a wooden sculptured face of a woman from Cameroon, I began to hear the woman, whose mouth was open, calling, chanting and singing to me in a distant yet distinct single tone. This was astonishing, and I went home, and used the woman’s tone as the basis for a composition. I began the piece with shimmering percussion, leading to a driving, complex skin drum entrance. After this, the woman’s tone enters, followed by a low bass voice. Finally the tension is relieved with the entrance of a through-composed melodic voice using a whole-tone scale, and a simpler, earthy percussion part. This sequence of entrances occurs three time during the piece, and end with a fading of the shimmering percussion entering for the fourth time. Night of Fire was composed entirely in one evening. It was finished around 4 or 5 in the morning. Listening to the brand new piece in the darkness was frightening and mysterious. It surely has a life of it’s own. To this, I wonder what story the African woman was communicating. - Michael Robinson, Lahaina, December 2000 © 2000 by Michael Robinson all rights reserved
Year composed: 1987
Duration: 00:31:24
Ensemble type: Electronic Instruments and Sound Sources:Live Electronic Sound Sources
Instrumentation: ,1 Computer/Laptop soloist(s), ,1 Sampler (Keyboard/Other) soloist(s)
Instrumentation notes: A computer and sound module are programmed to perform the fully notated composition in real time. Night of Fire is voiced with electric oboes, a synthesizer timbre and samples of acoustical skin percussion instruments. Equal temperment tuning is used for this composition.

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