Nzuri MwanaNzuri Mwana
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Nzuri Mwana

for percussion ensemble and solo flute
Level: Med-Easy
Duration: 4:20
Personnel: 12–16 players
Release Date: 2018
Delivery Method: Physical
Product ID : TSPCE18-003
Price: $36.00
Item #: TSPCE18-003

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Description

Stuart P. O’Neil’s piece Nzuri Mwana is a work inspired by the rhythms and musical textures of Africa. Featuring a flute soloist who carries the melody throughout the piece, the accompanying percussion parts help provide an intensely joyful and energetic backdrop for the flute’s soaring melody. In Swahali, nzuri mwana means “good son,” a title which is fitting given that O'Neil has dedicated the piece to his son.

Nzuri Mwana comes with a full, bound score and includes a CD-ROM containing an audio recording and all individual parts available for printing.

Instrumentation

Flute

Glockenspiel

Xylophone

Marimba (low A)*

Timpani (4 drums)

Drums (djembe, bass drum)

Cymbals & gongs (china cymbal, tam tam)

Accessories (cabasa, 2 gankogui bells**, shaker, shaker, triangle)

*Shared by Marimba 1 & Marimba 2

**Two dark, low pitched cowbells may be used as a substitute

Reviews

“Nzuri Mwana” is the kind of piece that educators will appreciate: It offers the chance to introduce concepts not typically covered in band class (such as improvisation and world percussion) and includes parts designed to accommodate a wide range of playing abilities.  The publisher lists the work as “medium-easy,” which typically indicates that it is intended for an advanced middle school group or lower high school ensemble, although it should be noted that the improvisatory djembe part is the lynchpin of the ensemble and will require some substantial preparation. It also provides an opportunity to showcase a flute soloist, ideally a confident high school student or visiting professional looking for a low-stress project (the part would be a stretch for many middle school flutists).

Musically, "Nzuri Mwana" succeeds in evoking African styles and themes amidst a back-and-forth conversation between flute and percussion ensemble. The ensemble parts are largely motoric, as the keyboard parts primarily serve as the bridge between the flute soloist and the rest of the ensemble, which offers several characteristically African sounds (such as cabasa, shekere, and gankogui, for which it would be easy to find close substitutes in a budgetary pinch). There is a fair amount of repetition, and the work leans heavily on the expressiveness of the flute player and the creativity of the djembe player to carry momentum through each section. The obvious challenge will be to keep the volume of the percussion instruments in check so as not to exasperate the flutist, and students will need to pencil in a few edits to the written dynamics for the piece to be successful.

Ultimately, the strength of “Nzuri Mwana” lies in its usefulness as an educational experience, with the added bonus that students will have fun playing it, and the audience will find it accessible and engaging. At just under 4:30, this piece would be an enjoyable, colorful addition to a school concert.

–Brian Graiser
Percussive Notes
Vol. 57, No. 1, March 2019

Description

Stuart P. O’Neil’s piece Nzuri Mwana is a work inspired by the rhythms and musical textures of Africa. Featuring a flute soloist who carries the melody throughout the piece, the accompanying percussion parts help provide an intensely joyful and energetic backdrop for the flute’s soaring melody. In Swahali, nzuri mwana means “good son,” a title which is fitting given that O'Neil has dedicated the piece to his son.

Nzuri Mwana comes with a full, bound score and includes a CD-ROM containing an audio recording and all individual parts available for printing.

Instrumentation

Flute

Glockenspiel

Xylophone

Marimba (low A)*

Timpani (4 drums)

Drums (djembe, bass drum)

Cymbals & gongs (china cymbal, tam tam)

Accessories (cabasa, 2 gankogui bells**, shaker, shaker, triangle)

*Shared by Marimba 1 & Marimba 2

**Two dark, low pitched cowbells may be used as a substitute

Reviews

“Nzuri Mwana” is the kind of piece that educators will appreciate: It offers the chance to introduce concepts not typically covered in band class (such as improvisation and world percussion) and includes parts designed to accommodate a wide range of playing abilities.  The publisher lists the work as “medium-easy,” which typically indicates that it is intended for an advanced middle school group or lower high school ensemble, although it should be noted that the improvisatory djembe part is the lynchpin of the ensemble and will require some substantial preparation. It also provides an opportunity to showcase a flute soloist, ideally a confident high school student or visiting professional looking for a low-stress project (the part would be a stretch for many middle school flutists).

Musically, "Nzuri Mwana" succeeds in evoking African styles and themes amidst a back-and-forth conversation between flute and percussion ensemble. The ensemble parts are largely motoric, as the keyboard parts primarily serve as the bridge between the flute soloist and the rest of the ensemble, which offers several characteristically African sounds (such as cabasa, shekere, and gankogui, for which it would be easy to find close substitutes in a budgetary pinch). There is a fair amount of repetition, and the work leans heavily on the expressiveness of the flute player and the creativity of the djembe player to carry momentum through each section. The obvious challenge will be to keep the volume of the percussion instruments in check so as not to exasperate the flutist, and students will need to pencil in a few edits to the written dynamics for the piece to be successful.

Ultimately, the strength of “Nzuri Mwana” lies in its usefulness as an educational experience, with the added bonus that students will have fun playing it, and the audience will find it accessible and engaging. At just under 4:30, this piece would be an enjoyable, colorful addition to a school concert.

–Brian Graiser
Percussive Notes
Vol. 57, No. 1, March 2019



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