Fantasia on a Theme from Thailand
By Richard Meyer
Highland/Etling String Orchestra
Conductor Score & Parts
This selection is essentially a set of variations on the "Pong Lang Dance", one of Thailand's most popular melodies. The pong lang is a suspended vertical wooden xylophone whose keys are arranged upside down, with the low notes on the upper end and the high notes at the bottom. The melody uses the pentatonic scale and is very simple in nature. The variations do not retain the phrase lengths or harmonic structure of the original melody as traditional variations would, but rather expand on fragments of the original tune in a variety of tempi and styles. After this exploration, the original melody returns, gradually gaining speed and energy as one would hear in a traditional performance of this dance.