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ProductsSheet Music for GuitarGuitar and other instrumentMotherlands



Composer: GOSS Stephen

DO 1280


ISBN: 978-2-89796-058-2

Guitar and saxophone

16 p. + separated parts

  • Three formats are available for your purchase.

    Book: The paper version of our editions, which will be shipped through the mail from the nearest distribution center

    PDF: The digital and downloadable version, which is in PDF file format. Thes files are encoded with a header bearing your name, and opening them requires a password.

    PDF Extra: This version allows you to print as many copies as you need for your musical ensembles. Also requires a password to open.


soprano saxophone (or viola) and guitar


Motherlands was commissioned by two friends of mine, Joyce Berman and Henry Sanger. They wanted a piece that was somehow connected with their roots, their motherlands. Henry, an American with a Methodist upbringing, and Joyce, with Jewish and Russian roots, suggested many hymns, folksongs and traditional songs for me to adapt that had a special connection with their distant childhoods.
This initial idea led me to think more about migrations, both forced and chosen. Displacement seems to be a present-day epidemic, and a return to an imagined Arcadian homeland is a fantasy shared by many. Motherlands is about this reflective, internalised, and personal nostalgia. I present this as an antidote to the far more destructive restorative, external, and societal nostalgia; represented by national and nationalist revivals all over the world.
After an initial Incantation for the solo saxophone or viola, Motherlands explores a number of musical traditions from Klezmer and folk music to hymns and spirituals. Sometimes I use traditional melodies in their entirety (Roah Veroh), at others I use fragments from several sources to generate new melodies (Hymn).
Dedicated to Joyce Berman and Henry Sanger. First performance, Michael Brockman – soprano saxophone, and Michael Partington – guitar, 13th March 2019, Brechemin Auditorium, Seattle, Washington, USA.


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