Composed for the Saitama Sakae Wind Orchestra . Conducted by Akira Oku and Minoru Otaki.
Premier performance at the Midwest Clinic Dec. 2014
The altered Phrygian Dominant Scale (altered by raising the 3rd scale degree in the Phrygian mode) is one of my favorite scale/modes to compose in. Also known as the Freygish or Fraigish scale, this fifth mode of the harmonic minor scale is used in many forms and nationalities of music. We hear this most often with Jewish, Greek, Turkish, Arabic, Persian, Flamenco and some forms of Russian music. When using this scale it is almost impossible to sound like anything other than the aforementioned types of music. I like ALL of those types of music so composing in this mode is nothing but fun. With this particular piece, I decided to go with a Jewish, Greek, Hungarian and overall Slavic flavor.
Growing up, I played all of the Hungarian Rhapsodies on the piano. I found them energetic, fascinating and most of all passionate which I still do today. I did not want to put this piece into a specific ethnic category so I went with the title "Paprikash" referring to the chicken dish which uses lots and lots of paprika. It is a dish which is prepared by all of the countries whose musical styles I was going to compose in. I like to think of this piece as my own recipe combined with lots and lots of Freygish paprika.