A Ba Boleki Nwana! (They Will Not Lend Me A Child!) by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Arranged for Woodwind Quintet by Adam Lesnick
Originally written for piano, “A Ba Boleki Nwama!” is #4 in Coleridge-Taylor’s “24 Negro Melodies, Op.59”, a collection based on material from a noted collection of African Melodies, “Les Chants et les Contes des Ba Ronga” by Henri Junod.
The Negro Melodies in this volume are not merely arranged- on the contrary, they have been amplified, harmonized and altered in other respects to suit the purpose of the book. I do not think any apology for the system adopted is necessary. However beautiful the actual melodies are in themselves, there can be no doubt that much of their value is lost on account of their extreme brevity.
What Brahms has done for the Hungarian folk music, Dvorak for the Bohemian, and Grieg for the Norwegian, I have tried to do for these Negro Melodies…The actual melody has been inserted at the head of each piece as a motto. The music which follows is nothing more nor less than a series of variations built on the said motto. Therefore my share in the matter can be clearly traced, and must not be confounded with any idea of “improving” the original material any more than Brahms’ ‘Variations on a Theme of Haydn’ improved that.
The meaning of “They Will Not Lend Me a Child” is obvious. In countries where a childless married woman is considered less than nothing, it is only natural that such a one should try to borrow a child for adoption. Her lament on finding she is unable to discover a child is therefore literal in every sense of the word…… Samuel Coleridge Taylor