The Spikenard


Spikenard is the name of a species of plant whose aromatic roots were used by the ancient Egyptians as an ingredient in perfume. The title ‘The Spikenard’ refers to the Middle Eastern flavor of the piece (especially the two chant-like sections), but mostly it is just a great word.

The opening section and its reiteration on the second page should be played with great freedom, as if chanting from the top of a tower to the people below. In these sections, a V-shaped breath mark indicates a comfortably taken breath, while an apostrophe-shaped breath mark indicates a shorter break or lift.

The two more rock-like sections should be played fairly aggressively and with great energy. On the sixth line of the second page, in the 7/8 bar, the first three eighth notes should be identical to the triplet in the preceding bar. In this way, the quarter note pulse will become quicker from the 7/8 to the end.

A two-page piece is very cheap to photocopy. Please help support new music by beating back the urge to copy this piece. Thank you.”
- Daniel Grabois

Daniel Grabois is a renowned performer and educator of horn. Formerly a resident of New York City, he has played with almost all of the ensembles there, including the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, St. Luke's Chamber Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, New York City Opera, New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theater, and American Symphony Orchestra. He is the former Chairman of the Manhattan School of Music's Contemporary Performance Program and former professor of horn at The Hartt School. Currently, Dan resides in Wisconsin where he is Assistant Professor of Horn at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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