Buffalo Altar: A Texas Symphony
Buffalo Altar: A Texas Symphony was commissioned by the Institute of American Music of the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York, and is the result of a three year collaboration between composer Jefferson Todd Frazier and writer Stephen Harrigan. “The Eastman School was interested in a musical piece about Texas,” Harrigan says. “We both responded immediately to the idea, but soon realized whata huge subject we had been handed, and what a challenge it would be to distill that subject down to a manageable theme.” Frazier and Harrigan both knew what they didn’t want–an earnest, stentorian musical documentary. They wanted something that felt alive and contemporary but also visibly connected to Texas’ rich and complex history. In the end, they decided the best way to tell the story of Texas was through the voice of a more-or-less
representative Texan, an 81 year old oilman reminiscing about a long-ago morning in a West Texas canyon that changed his life. Buffalo Altar is scored for narrator, full orchestra, off stage brass quartet, off stage flute, a large farm bell, and western wind chimes. The short story, Buffalo Altar, by Stephen Harrigan, is based on an archaeological discovery of bison bones from a hunt at Caprock Canyons State Park, near Canyon, Texas, which revealed evidence of the Folsom culture, dating signs of civilized life in Texas to over 10,000 years ago.
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You’re currently reading “ Buffalo Altar: A Texas Symphony ,” an entry on J. Todd Frazier
- 12.27.07 / 5pm