Four Georgian Songs (2008-9)

arr. for 4 horns/horn choir
15 min.

When the Golden Horns asked me for a set of folk song arrangements, my thoughts turned immediately to the rich vocal repertoire of the Republic of Georgia. In the selection of songs presented here, I wanted to present as broad a sampling of styles and social functions as possible. The songs are less arranged than transcribed from landmark recordings of the Rustavi Choir and soloist Hamlet Gonashvili made in the 1980s and ’90s. Where possible, I tried to preserve intact the music’s delicate three-part polyphony, adding only a high obligato part to the sacred chorale “Tsmindao Ghmerto” and some minor details of harmony in the riding song “Tshkenosnuri”. The horn quartet is divided differently in each song, with each player given a solo turn in the drone song “Shen, Bicho, Anagurelo”, and two duos imitating the opposing choruses of the work song “Guruli Naduri”. Several of the songs also feature the use of natural harmonics and unusual fingerings to evoke the non-tempered tunings of Georgian scales.