Earth Dance: the beginning

As promised, here is the framework for all the complaining you will enjoy between now and June.

Last summer, on the last night of GHP I think, Dr. Ryan Smith—our percussion teacher—asked all the composers on the music staff to write a piece for percussion ensemble to be played in 2012.  He was generous enough to include me in that request; I was actually surprised and gratified.  To my protestations that I don’t know how to write for percussion, he merely pooh-poohed me.  (Perhaps he was thinking of my “Dance for Double Bass Duo and Marimba”?)

I didn’t bother thinking about it until after the new year—I had other things to deal with, after all.  Still, if I’m going to do this I need to start now, so while driving up and down I-85 I began thinking about what I might do.  I’m a lot more comfortable with the tuned percussion—I really don’t  know how to write for all the really interesting things you can bang on—so I began planning on marimbas.

And because I’m radical like that, I thought I might include some low strings, some cellos, double basses.

So at the moment, the ensemble is for two marimbas, a vibraphone, a djembe, and bongos, plus two cellos and two double basses.

The working title is “Earth Dance.”  I’m pretending it’s the third movement in a suite called Elemental Dances: Fire/Water/Earth/Air.  We’ll see  how that goes, of course.

Last night’s work was just trying to create crap, and I largely succeeded.  There was one theme that was attractive, but I’m going for ponderous/savage/dark, so it may not work.

More as it fails to develop.

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