Order of the Cynthian Palm

"The Lake"

Under the title "The Lake in Central Park", as part of the Delian Suite as suggested by Joseph Dillon Ford the moderator and founder of the Delian Society, it was originally a minute-long piano piece. The original file with my original description may be seen and heard on that page:

"The Lake in Central Park" from "Delian Suite"- 1 minute piano piece
free pdf of the above.(New, 5-25-05)
Central Park Suite: The Lake, Extended piano version of the above. (2.6 MB) (New, 6-16-05)
New version of an orchestration of the above using Apple Logic 9.1.3. (3.7 MB) (4-4-11)

The Obelisk: "Cleopatra's Needle" (3.1 MB). (piano version):

Cleopatra VII (69-30BC), from the Ptolomaic Dynasty, had nothing to do with this structure which dates from the famous 18th Dynasty, around 461 B.C. (Ramses II may have added to it but Tutmose III was the original Pharoah of the Obelisk.) The inscriptions on it are to their memories.) Though I originally mentioned our New York weather as the cause for the deterioration of the inscriptions, apparently much of this deterioration existed before being sent here.

Tutmose III was the step-son of the female Pharoah, Hatshepsut. My original sentence here was: "After her death, he did everything possible to obliterate Hatshepsut's memory by destroying or removing her name from her monuments." But since her mummy has, apparently, just been found, this appears to be an oversimplification. Please go here for current information.

I am not familiar with Egyptian music and ancient Egyptian music has not come down to us. Yet there are representations of musicians in Egyptian art and we might come to some conclusions from them without knowing what the music actually sounded like.

In writing the music, I tried to give an impression of the immensity of the Obelisk as well as the choreographic character of Egyptian hieroglyphics and the enormous influence of the Nile. There is no intention of being authentic which is impossible, especially in the case of a piano piece.

download mp3 of "The Obelisk." (3.1 MB)

To hear the new orchestral version of the Obelisk, go to the Central Park Suite pages.

The Ramble:

The Ramble is an extensive section of New York City's Central Park and is known especially for the large number of bird species found here since the Park is under a migratory path.

For a number of years, the nearby lake also had a pair of mute swans who died in 2002 (a new pair had been brought to the park in 2006 but is no longer there!) but there are still many geese and other very exotic species as well including the occasional ring-necked pheasant or red-tailed hawk.

This piece represents a lazy, languid and humid summer day in July or August. Actual birdcalls are heard as well as orchestral instruments imitating them later in the piece.

download mp3 of "The Ramble" | .myr plug-in page of "The Ramble"..

Egret in Flight:

The actual last-composed section of the Suite is "Egret in Flight" which was written as my 2008 Nu Mu [Sic!] entry of the Delian Society which explains its partly atonal character.

The Great Egret is a heron which is native to the Southern United States and South America but migrates north every summer at which time it is a familiar inhabitant of Central Park.

The music actually describes two aspects of the egret: it's flight as it rises above and startles the sunbathers on the rocks below, and it's slow stalking of a fish which is then seen going down its long throat.

Though the piece is brief, it is formally very compact with a brief opening statement of the two contrasting elements. A short development of the "flight" section leads back to somewhat lengthier restatements of the material and a brief coda closes this, the "scherzo" of the Suite.

To hear or download the mp3, go to its Nu Mu [Sic!] page.

Angel of the Waters:

"Angel of the Waters" is the official name of the Bethesda Fountain.

Bethesda Terrace is a sort of tourist meeting center of the Park where many gather, including musical performers. It has been used in many films and has been most recently and famously associated with Tony Kushner's drama, "Angels in America". It featured in the movie version as well as in many other films.

The sculptor was Emma Stebbins, the first American female sculptor of renown. The Biblical reference is to an angel who "troubled the waters" to create a healing pool and the fountain itself refers to the clean waters of the Croton Reservoir.

I should add that the opening tune is based on two phrases of the chant "Asperges Me" and the first movement, "The Lake", is also quoted both to give the Suite a satisfactory close and to show the proximity of the actual lake to the fountain which it is just back of.

download mp3 of "Angel of the Waters"  |myr (mu3) page of the same music.

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