Plagues of Egypt - Excerpt

2016
/
Orchestral

Details

Category

Orchestral

instrumentation

duration

7 minutes

commissioned by

premiered by

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As the son of a preacher, I grew up hearing and learning about the mystic and
powerful stories of the bible. The story of the ten plagues of Egypt was one particular
story that created compelling imagery. This fascinating account of the Jewish people
overcoming years of bondage has been told for thousands of years and is known by many
people from all walks of life. I have decided to retell the story through music. “The
Plagues of Egypt” is the first of several pieces that will be part of a larger work entitled,
Bible Stories.
Though the horrific plagues that swept across Egypt effected thousands, the focus of
this piece is from the perspective of the stubborn Pharaoh who unwillingly loosens his
grip on the enslaved Jews. Pharaoh’s hardened heart is conveyed through two accented
chords which recurs throughout the piece as a motif. With the entrance of each plague,
light, heavenly, metallic sounds from the harp, celeste, and percussion section coupled
with static strings are used to depict the spirit of God. Dark, brooding harmonies
represent the “Angel of Death” which takes the life of Pharaoh’s first born child. Musical
tension builds to a climax to depict the emotional despair of the stubborn leader. After
the torment of the loss of his first born, Pharaoh’s hardened heart is broken.This is
expressed by the once fullness of accented chords to a thinner texture of single
instruments as Pharaoh grieves in despair.
~Carlos Oliver Simon, Jr. (2015)

Recorded live at Underwood New Music Readings, June 14, 2016

www.americancomposers.org


cOMPONENT divider

Plagues of Egypt - Excerpt

2016
/
Orchestral
duration

7 minutes

instrumentation

premiered by

commissioned by

As the son of a preacher, I grew up hearing and learning about the mystic and
powerful stories of the bible. The story of the ten plagues of Egypt was one particular
story that created compelling imagery. This fascinating account of the Jewish people
overcoming years of bondage has been told for thousands of years and is known by many
people from all walks of life. I have decided to retell the story through music. “The
Plagues of Egypt” is the first of several pieces that will be part of a larger work entitled,
Bible Stories.
Though the horrific plagues that swept across Egypt effected thousands, the focus of
this piece is from the perspective of the stubborn Pharaoh who unwillingly loosens his
grip on the enslaved Jews. Pharaoh’s hardened heart is conveyed through two accented
chords which recurs throughout the piece as a motif. With the entrance of each plague,
light, heavenly, metallic sounds from the harp, celeste, and percussion section coupled
with static strings are used to depict the spirit of God. Dark, brooding harmonies
represent the “Angel of Death” which takes the life of Pharaoh’s first born child. Musical
tension builds to a climax to depict the emotional despair of the stubborn leader. After
the torment of the loss of his first born, Pharaoh’s hardened heart is broken.This is
expressed by the once fullness of accented chords to a thinner texture of single
instruments as Pharaoh grieves in despair.
~Carlos Oliver Simon, Jr. (2015)

Recorded live at Underwood New Music Readings, June 14, 2016

www.americancomposers.org


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Carlos Simon