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January 25, 2014
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composition pages

composition / solo / halcyon deconstruction

halcyon deconstruction

Medium: Solo Marimba with Electronic Accompaniment (CD)
Publisher: C. Alan Publications (summer 2012 release)
Composed: April 2012
Duration: c. 10:10
Difficulty: Medium Difficult
Other Version: Solo Marimba and Percussion Quartet (Halcyon Days


Solo Marimba (5-octave)
Electronic Accompaniment (CD)

look inside

Halcyon Deconstruction Score


Brandon J. Kelly, marimba
"Marimba Night" in The Colony (TX), May 6, 2012


The phrase "Halcyon Days" refers to a period of peace and tranquility. It can also harken back to an earlier time that is remembered as idyllic, whether accurately or not. I researched the mythological origins of this phrase to gather more inspiration for the piece. According to Ovid's Metamorphoses, Alcyone was the daughter of Aelous, King of the Winds, and the wife of Ceyx. Alcyone and Ceyx were very much in love and were never willingly apart. Ceyx decided he must make a long journey across the sea to consult the oracle of Apollo at Delphi. Knowing the danger of such a journey, Alcyone was overwhelmed with grief and terror and begged him not to go. Ceyx left anyway and died tragically in a shipwreck. The gods came to Alcyone in a dream and told her of her husband's death. Stricken with grief, she jumped into the sea, but the Gods took pity on her and before she could be overcome by the waves, she was transformed into a kingfisher (also called a halcyon). Ceyx was changed into a bird as well and their love was blessed for all time. In their honor, Zeus forbade the winds to blow for seven days prior to and seven days following the Winter Solstice so Alcyone & Ceyx could safely brood over their nests near the waters. Their tragic love story has given us the very word that means calm, contentment and happiness.

The music follows the arc of the story fairly closely and divides into six major sections. The melodic/harmonic material is derived from 4 chords/pitch sets that have only 4 pitches in common.

Alcyone & Ceyx
Ceyx at Sea
Turbulent Waters
The Fall of Ceyx
Halcyon Days

Halcyon Days was commissioned by a consortium of performers and educators organized by Josh Knight:

Josh Knight (consortium head) - University of Arkansas – Fort Smith

Justin Alexander - Independent (FL)
Caitlin Boxeur - Independent (OK)
Lance Drege - University of Oklahoma (OK)
Marques Eckhoff - Independent (IL)
Tammy Fisher - University of Wisconsin – La Crosse (WI)
Dave Gerhart - Cole Conservatory of Music (CSULB)
David Glover - Slippery Rock University (PA)
Michael Haldeman - Charlesont Southern University (SC)
Carlos Johnson - Austin Peay University (TN)
Matt Jordan - Independent (FL)
Brandon Kelly - Independent (TX)
Andy Kolar - Sacred Heart University (CT)
Mike Lasley - North Carolina A&T University (NC)
Greg Lyons - Louisiana Tech University (LA)
Rick Minnotte - Mt. Lebanon High School (PA)
Delaina Oberman - Flint Institute of Music (MI)
Danh Pham - McMurry University (TX)
Michael Ptacin - Independent (NC)
Bill Rice - James Madison University (VA)
Lisa Rogers - Texas Tech University (TX)
Michael Sekelsky - University of Central Missouri (MO)
Gary Westbrook - Tarleton State University (TX)