Hero Twins

for saxophone solo and concert band

Stephen Roberts

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for saxophone solo and concert band

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Composer Stephen Roberts

Year of Composition



ca. 13'

Student Difficulty

Categories (all composers) ,
Catalogue ID ce-sr1ht1


Hero Twins is inspired by the ancient Mayan creation myth of the hero twins Xbalanke and Junajpu, renowed for their great competitive skills. They defeated the lords of the underworld by fighting bird demons and turning their enemies into monkeys. Eventually they became the sun and the moon, or day and night. The piece has programmatic elements, with the soloist representing the hero twins on two instruments. All the themes are based on Mexican birdsongs, heard at the beginning. There are four main sections with the soloist initially summoning up the forest and leading a ritual dance. A slow section evokes the night and is followed by a furious battling ‘scherzo’ in which elements of jazz are heard. Finally, after a further reference to the beginning, another ritual dance rounds off the work.

Hero Twins was written for Victoria Samek and the RAF Central Band and first performed on November 16th at Regents Hall, London under the direction of Wg Cdr Piers Morrell.

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