Thai Souvenir for Violin and Piano


Year Authored (or revised): 



Violin and Piano

Duration (min): 



1. Buddha Reclining
2. Shadow Puppet Dance
3. Hanuman's Adventure
4. Elephant Ride

First Performance: 

7/2/2009, Warren Davidson, violin, Susan Wheatley, piano, CMS/CCS Composers' Concert, Croatian Composers' Society Concert Hall, Zagreb, Croatia

Thai Journey is in 4 movements played without pause.  It begins with a slow movement called Buddha Reclining. Buddha images, of which there are many in Thailand, are generally found in four stylized poses or stances: seated, standing, walking and reclining. In each position, or pose, there are variations of gesture or attitude, and each attitude is related to a period in the Buddha’s life. The reclining Buddha, with his head resting in the palm of his right hand and a half-smile gracing his serene face, represents his passage to Nirvana, symbolizing complete peace and detachment from the world.

The 2nd movement, Shadow Puppet Dance, in a fast compound meter, refers to an important classical art form of Thailand, shadow puppetry, the manipulation of puppets behind lighted screens. The stories portrayed in these puppet plays often come from Thailand’s great epic-myth and venerated theater tradition, the Ramakien (literally, the worship of Rama) which in turn evolved from the ancient Indian mythological tale, the Ramayana.

Also featured in the Ramakien is Hanuman the celestial monkey-general at play who, with his brave and wily stratagems, rescues Princess Sita from the demons, and reunites her with her lover Prince Rama. Hanuman’s Adventure is the 3rd movement, the longest, most involved, and where the ideas are most extensively developed.

Finally, Elephant Ride, with its fast tempo, bouncy rhythms and thematic references to the 2nd movement, refers to Ganesh, the Hindu god of knowledge and the creator and remover of obstacles.

Ensemble Type: 

solo inst+keyboard
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