Argoru I

Alvin Singleton
6 min

he word argoru comes from the Ghanaian Twi language and means "to play." ARGORU I for piano is the first in a series of virtuoso pieces for solo instruments, including cello, flute, viola, bass clarinet, alto flute, marimba, vibraphone and snare drum. To play ARGORU I, the performer must be prepared to explore complex rhythmic and melodic gestures and sudden shifts of dynamics and range. The melodic lines bounce along like atonal jazz riffs, violently interrupted by clusters that serve as tonal pillars. The material is precisely notated until it climaxes in a burst of controlled improvisation. An intellectually rigorous work, ARGORU I nevertheless maintains a playfulness and spontaneity. ARGORU I was composed for pianist Lea Bissell and was premiered on May 1, 1970 in Sprague Memorial Hall at Yale University.

– Laura Gordy (2009)