Karim Al-Zand: Music: Red Pajamas

Red Pajamas

variations on a folk song [a work for young audiences]

Red Pajamas is a piece for young audiences, and is intended to be both entertaining and educational. The work is an instrumental ‘Theme and Variations,’ using the popular folksong She’ll be Coming ’Round the Mountain.

She’ll be wearing red pajamas when she comes,
She’ll be wearing red pajamas when she comes,
She’ll be wearing red pajamas,
She’ll be wearing red pajamas,
She’ll be wearing red pajamas when she comes.

imageIn Red Pajamas, the familiar tune is first presented in a fairly straight-forward and recognizable way. The variations which follow are played in sets. The first set features a solo variation for each instrument, showing off its particular sound, or ‘timbre.’

The following sets each highlight an aspect of music: one pair contrasts high register with low register; another juxtaposes a quick tempo with a very slow one; another compares staccato articulation with legato.
Between each short set the piano plays a vamp, which quietly keeps time as the narrator explains what the audience will hear in subsequent variations.

There are many other musical contrasts built into the piece—in addition to those mentioned in the narration—which make it suitable for children of various ages and levels of musical experience.

imageRed Pajamas has been an annual part of Musiqa’s Children’s Program, a spring concert entitled Around the World with Musiqa, presented to Houston area fourth grade students. To date, the work has been performed for over 15,000 children. The piece is recorded on a promotional CD, which may be requested by email.

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8 minutes

flute (/piccolo), clarinet, violin, cello, piano, percussion, narrator

Musiqa’s annual children’s concerts presented in conjunction with Smith-Barney, Young Audiences, The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts and HISD

May 17, 2005, Zilkha Hall, Houston TX
Leone Buyse, flute | Michael Webster clarinet | Maureen Nelson, violin | Richard Belcher, cello | Rod Waters, piano | Andrea Moore, percussion | Rob Smith, narrator