The White Elephant and the King
composer: Nick Duggan
This work for solo guitar was inspired by a visit to Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai, Thailand where there is a sculpture of a white elephant, considered sacred in Thailand. There are some variants in the folk tale, however, in this interpretation the focus is on the white elephant which is sent into the forest carrying a holy relic on its back by the Lanna King, Keu Neone, to find the place a temple should be built to house the relic. On finding the place, the elephant trumpets a final call, his task completed, and dies on the spot. The composer has attempted here to imitate both the style of traditional Thai music, both harmonically and rhythmically while also imitating such Thai instruments as the "Khim" (hammered dulcimer) and "Klong" (Thai drum), particularly in the initial measures. As one would expect, with the death of the elephant, the last section of the work is rather melancholy and reflective. This work is ideal for the technical level of an advanced student of guitar and highly suitable for the concert repertoire as both an enjoyable piece to perform as well as an accessible work for the listener.