Prelude and Prayer
cocnert aria for soprano and wind ensemble (1999)
14 October 1999
Baylor University Concert Hall, Waco, Texas
Lynda Keith McKnight, soprano / The Baylor Wind Ensemble / Michael Haithcock
Paul Muldoon (E)
Autumn, 1968. Mona Morales is alone in a cheap motel room in a very bad part of a small town on the Texas-Mexico border. She is illuminated only by the cold-blue, flickering light of a cheap black and white television and the throbbing red of a neon sign that reads "otel." Her husband Miguel, driven mad by groundless jealousy, has been stalking her for weeks, with the clear intention of killing her. As the prelude begins, Mona has just received word that Miguel has found out where she is hiding and is on his way. She kneels by the bed to say a final prayer.
Prelude and Prayer from Bandanna is a concert aria based on the final scene of the opera Bandanna, which was commissioned in 1998 by the College Band Director's National Association and first performed by the University of Texas Austin Opera Theater in February of 1999. The prelude is based loosely upon the scene preceding Mona's final aria, but also develops another melody associated in the opera with the words Donde esta mi querida? Or Where has my beloved gone? In the opera, Mona sings only against a backdrop of three solo violins holding shifting triads.
The concert piece was first performed 14 October 1999 at Baylor University by the Baylor Wind Ensemble, Lynda Keith McKnight, soprano soloist, under the direction of Michael Haithcock.
— Daron Hagen, 1999
...as a concert work it is quite beautiful. Lynda Keith McKnight's ... diction is good and she conveys the musical (as opposed to the dramatic) aspect of the scene very well. Hagen's scoring here, as in all the music at hand, is remarkably well thought out and continually catches the ear with new felicities.
— James Story, Fanfare Magazine, January / February, 2002