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THE DOOR OF NO RETURN (2nd edition)

THE DOOR OF NO RETURN (2nd edition)

(1 reviews)  
Digital Download
Composer:Talbot-Howard, Althea (b.1966)
Instrumentation:ob. pft.
Publisher Ref:e-PKP3a
A second edition of this Sonata commemorating the transatlantic slave trade, forced labour in the New World and the late US Congress Representative John Lewis (1940-2020). Celebrating The American Civil Rights movement, the Return to Africa movement & Ghana's Year of Return (2019).

Price: £18.50
Skill Level:E
Publisher:Pantokrator Publications
Year of Issue:2020
Composed in 2020-2021, this programmatic sonata commemorates the transatlantic slave trade, forced labour in the New World & the late US Congress Representative John Lewis (1940-2020), who was an icon of the American civil rights movement. It also celebrates Ghana's Year of Return in 2019, which John Lewis attended.
In order to gain the maximum understanding of the piece, please watch the narrative video performance, which contains images and footage from Africa, the UK and elsewhere. The link is on this page, under 'YouTube'.
Post-minimalist in aesthetic, The Door of No Return is a modular work in three parts which can either be performed as a sonata - or independently, as separate pieces. Total duration: 13 mins.
As of April 2024, 40 live performances have taken place since it was published, in countries around the world. This score is the Second Edition (published 09 April 2024).

Dahomey is a passacaglia which utilises the minor pentatonic scale, common in West African folk music. It was inspired by the magnificent monument on the coast of Benin (formerly French Dahomey), which can be seen on the front cover of the score: The Door of No Return (Ouidah). It charts the abduction of slaves by rival nations from elsewhere in the African continent; the march to the Slave Coast; the sometimes-lethal journey across the Atlantic; and forced labour on the island of Antigua.
Betty’s Hope is a hidden theme and variations, in which the famous theme is only revealed at the end. The title refers to a barbaric former plantation in Antigua which is now an open-air museum, and was visited by Althea in 2013. The estate produced sugar from 1650 until the mid-20th century, remaining in the ownership of one British family, throughout all that time. Its profits helped to fund the monumental Library at All Souls’ College, Oxford, and fed into the wealth of the City of London. The music is a requiem for all those who passed away as slave labourers, and for Representative John Lewis, whose death, in 2020, took him through his own personal door of no return.
The Door of Return explores the 21st-century return to Africa by members of the African diaspora, many of whom have recently settled in Ghana. It is joyful music, but behind that joy lies interest in how this step will work out for them, on a long-term basis. The end of the piece is more poignant in tone, commemorating John Lewis’s visit in 2019 - with the US Congressional Black Caucus - to the Doors at Cape Coast and Elmina Castles, Ghana, shortly before his death. The music utilises a variety of indigenous African folk music techniques and scales, within a western theoretical idiom.

If you require further information on THE DOOR OF NO RETURN, please contact us

  • Dahomey
  • Betty's Hope
  • The Door of No Return

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Average customer rating:
(1 reviews)  

1 Most useful customer reviews (see all reviews):
Anne Campbell
Oct 19, 2023
(Verified customer)
What a wonderfully written piece of music.
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