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Instrumentation: flute, oboe, clarinet in Bb and A, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, bassoon, horn in F, trumpet in C, trombone, piano, electric bass, drum kit, 2 violins, viola, cello, 2 soprano soloists
Duration: c. 10 minutes
Year of composition: 2014
Commissioned by Alison Bolton for the Albany Symphony’s Dogs of Desire
Nine of Staves is a post-modern fever-dream. Conor Abbott Brown wove the piece structurally around the eponymous piece for solo dancer by choreographer Safi Harriott.
“Nine of Staves inhabits worlds of hot grey earth and burning sand: badlands, prairies, deserts. Although beautiful, under the wrong circumstances these environments possess their own brutal gravity and possessiveness. The tarot card for which this piece is named implies embattlement with one’s circumstances; exhaustion. However, the card also offers a glimmer of hope. Out on the horizon is a place of respite – an oasis or a homestead. The mazes of canyon and quicksand between here and there can be navigated, given enough grit and determination.” -Conor Brown and Safi Harriott
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