Denisch informs us that this composition represents four significant women from the St. Louis area: C. J. Walker, Mary Engelbreit, Katherine Dunham, and Tina Turner. I found the first movement to gain cohesiveness as it progressed, moving from a tentative rambling to a consensus of direction. The second movement features a clarinet/percussion dialogue. The use of a daff (a Middle-Eastern frame drum) provided a unique color for the rhythmic anchor. The third movement sets up an intoxicating groove. This music really does suggest opening a door a bit—then dancing right through it! The syncopation and timbres of this movement make it difficult to resist. The fourth movement evokes Bill Conti’s Gonna Fly Now (from the Rocky movies), and brought me back to the image of Scheherazade. This time though, she was running through the Italian Market in Philadelphia and wearing boxing gloves.
– RONALD HORNER