"Raegal" for chorus and orchestra. [Original composition]
Witherspoon, Ann Rivers
Doctor of Musical Arts
Raegal, for chorus and orchestra, is a musically sophisticated setting of a very simple text. The first and third movements are based on the same harmonic structure of pitch centers alternating between the tritone creating a rather atonal bitonality. Clusters are utilized as important chordal textures. These outer two movements are both more percussive overall than the second movement, necessitated by the nature of the text in addition to being a balancing factor of the entire work. The second movement also employs the use of tonality more so than the outer movements, again, because of the nature of the text as well as to provide contrast. The most basic pitch center throughout the entire piece is "D", shifting up a whole step to "E" (and remaining there to the end) at the point where Raegal's tears are turned to golden nuggets by the Great Spirit-Lord. This event elevates the level of the text to a mystical and mythical level; the music enhances this by rising to another pitch center as well. "Raegal" is an attempt to capture musically all of the moods and imagery of the poem: war, fear, peacefulness with nature, nurturing love, strength, heroism, and the magical quality characteristic of legends of the American Indian.
Text from Poems of Idaho by Gayel.
Music; Folklore; Communication and the arts; Social sciences; Native Americans