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Hannah Kendall
6 min

Processional is inspired by, and takes its name from Norman Lewis’ artwork (1965), which is an abstract representation of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery March. Lewis slowly conveys the energy of the march through a series of white strokes, depicting those processing, within a central widening band; like a beam of light, as the procession grows in length and number. I was drawn to the simplistic, yet intricate beauty of Lewis’ piece, and its capability to powerfully embody such a significant moment in history. I also thought it apt that the title indicates continued processing, marching and protesting; that Lewis’ work is still very much relevant in the present day.

My musical representation starts slowly and quietly high in the piano’s register, steadily leading to gentle undulating and repetitive rhythms, which gradually builds in intensity to a forceful and driving section. The piece ebbs and flows in urgency in this way between contrasting bolder, and more delicate material; almost always constructed of free-flowing lines to reflect Lewis’ blurred white strokes. The work unrelentingly culminates to its final peak, punctuated by strong chords in the bass line. It returns to a remote fluidity, ending on a soft flourish as the procession continues into the distance.

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