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A'ts'ina: Place of Writings on the Rock (string quartet)

Classical/Chamber music • 2001 • Alternative Title: The Spirit That Wants Me, Starlight on Trees, The Old Man and the Boy, Raiders in the West, Sanctuary in Box Canyon, Circling Spirit

A'ts'ina: Place of Writings on the Rock (string quartet)

12.50 USD

PDF, 7.42 Mb ID: SM-000171666 Upload date: 01 Oct 2012
Violin, Viola, Cello
Scored for
Type of score
Full score, Parts
D minor
0 to 0 from 6
Michael Mauldin
A'ts'ina is an ancient, sacred Zuni city atop El Morro--also known as "Inscription Rock"--in west-central New Mexico. I have often been struck by the "presence" of the place, and drawn by the petroglyphs' communication of both the mundane and the spiritual. This piece comes from my imagining of life there in the 1200's, and from the place's spiritual power today.

The title of the first movement, “The Spirit That Wants Me,” was the name of an anthology of testimonials by creative people who had migrated to New Mexico. My essay, “Beyond the Four Hills,” bore witness to years of sacred interaction. “Starlight on Trees” is a simple, elegant “moment musicale,” a mental framing of a nighttime walk in the Zuni Mountains. “The Old Man and the Boy” is about the affectionate companionship of a man too old to go on the hunt, and a boy too young to go. Such relationships, viewed now with suspicion and intolerance, were valued as natural and healthy then. There was mutual reverence, which is why the closeness was sacred. “Raiders in the West” broods on the threat these people faced from marauders, often coming from the west. “Sanctuary in Box Canyon” reflects the feelings of those who hid there, a safe place, yet open to the sky. “Circling Spirit” brings together all the characters, including the place itself, surrounded and energized by the earth spirit.

ASCAP title code: 310556388

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Complete tracks of all six movements:

Revew: "Though Mauldin called its six movements 'unabashedly programmatic,' the music moved far beyond literal description. Filtered through his sensibility, the landscape triggered a highly personal language. He subtly used elements of American Indian music, like small repetitive themes and pentatonic or five-toned scales, to evoke a sense of things ancient, hallowed. It was a lovely work, full of space and spirit."
--Joanne Sheehy Hoover, Albuquerque Journal, 5/21/02
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