Sunday, April 15, 2012

Percussion Concert: Director's Notes

The HSU Percussion Ensemble will feature an exciting & diverse program of material presenting the listener with contemporary and experimental compositions, as well as traditional drumming styles based in the musics of Africa and Brasil. This evening’s performance will feature precise rhythmic interplay and driving rhythms, as well as complex and unusual percussive soundscapes.

The featured work on the program is the “First Construction in Metal” of John Cage written in 1939. This engaging work, written in the years before the United States entered into WWII, is a brash, creative, and vital example of the American avante-guard style pioneered by Cage in the twentieth century. The work calls for over 58 instruments constructed of metal, including gongs, anvils, cymbals, bells, and thunder sheets. In addition, a grand piano is used played by a traditional pianist but with live sound alteration and manipulation by a percussionist who performs on the interior of the piano strings. Many consider this piece to be Cage’s finest early work, ad this is an excellent opportunity to both hear and experience this classic piece!

Also featured on the first half of the show will be works by Michael Udow and John Bergamo, as well as a large ‘Percussion Orchestra’ piece for 16 percussionists composed by Wendy Mae Chambers and entitled, “The Night of the Shooting Stars.”

The second half of the show will feature the World Percussion Group performing a suite of traditional Mandeng Drumming of West African, and that will be followed by an inspiring arrangement of Brazilian Samba presented to the Humboldt audience in its classic form using all indigenous instruments from Brazil. For this show, the World Percussion Group will be presenting the prize winning Samba arrangement from 2006 as performed by the Escola de Samba, Grande Rio, entitled, “Amazonas, o Eldorado,” complete with Cavaquinho and Vocals. This is a show that will delight both the ears and the eyes, and it is guaranteed to have something for everyone!

Eugene Novotny

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