Works Show Tunes in Samarian Starlight Paul Dolden

Show Tunes in Samarian Starlight

  • Paul Dolden
  • Year of composition: 2012
  • Duration: 16:32
  • Instrumentation: B-flat trumpet and stereo fixed medium
  • Commission: Łukasz Gothszalk, with support from the CCA

The work plays freely with our historical imagination, specifically, our ability to imagine another time and culture. At the same time, this imagining is always conditioned by our own time.

We know the microtonal scales used by many ancient cultures. However we have no idea of how they were used or what the music sounded like. Show Tunes in Samarian Starlight appropriates a number of ancient scales to create a musical fantasy of ‘show tunes’ and ‘nightclub music’ for ancient times.

The work is based on the same melodies recreated in different tuning systems. These fluctuate between two musical moods — plaintive and calm, like a ballad, and energized, like a rock, swing, or Latin groove. Similarly, the structure of the work fluctuates between the microtonality of an imagined past and our modern tuning system.

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Show Tunes in Samarian Starlight was realized in 2012 at the composer’s studio in Val-Morin (Québec). The piece was commissioned by Łukasz Gothszalk, with support from the CCA.

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