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John Luther Adams

Five Athabascan Dances
Taiga Press (BMI)
Works for 2-6 Players
16 Minutes

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Programme Note
John Luther Adams Five Athabascan Dances
These pieces are inspired by the music and spirit of the Athabascan people of Alaska's boreal forest.

The first and third dances are based on songs by Joe Beetus, a Koyukon elder from the village of Huslia.

The second dance is based on a short traditional song of the Dena'ina people of the Kenai Peninsula, as remembered by the late Peter Kalifornsky and transcribed by the late Thomas F. Johnston.

In their original settings these melodies would be sung in unison, with no harmony or counterpoint. Working as a composer in the Western tradition, I have extended and transformed them in many ways.

I have "borrowed" and "set" these melodies with permission and with the hope that my treatment of them conveys my profound respect for their origins.

The second and third pieces are derived from my settings of poems by Adeline Peter Raboff written in the dialect of her Gwich'in people, who inhabit the country from Arctic Village to Old Crow.

I offer this music as a gesture of respect to the first peoples of the Northern Interior and the Kenai Peninsula.

John Luther Adams

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