Saturday, May 04, 2013

Springing Percussion at the Van Duzer Theatre

Important work in the percussion ensemble repertoire, plus Bantu music from Cuba and calypso dance rhythms are all featured in the shared HSU Percussion Ensemble, World Percussion Group and Calypso Band spring concert on Saturday May 4 in the Van Duzer Theatre.

 Edgard Varese’s preeminent Ionisation requires 14 performers playing over 47 instruments, and is an “ extremely revolutionary work” according to Percussion Ensemble director Eugene Novotney. 

“Other composers wrote solely for percussion before Varese composed Isonisation,” Steve Smith noted in the New York Times in 2010, “but none with his sophistication and subtlety.” The piece is in conventional sonata form, but (Smith writes) “Varese’s use of timbre, texture and density, rather than melody and harmony, as organizational tools pointed the way towards more radical future propositions like musique concrete and electronic music.”

 Another work for multiple and unusual instruments (including Chinese water gong and prepared piano) is Second Construction by John Cage. In addition to works by Nigel Westlake and others, the Ensemble also performs a cult classic by HSU alum and founding member of the Mr. Bungle group Trey Spruance, as featured on the hit album Disco Volante.

 The World Percussion Group performs a suite of traditional Mandeng drumming from West Africa as well as Cuban "Bantu" folkloric music. Then fresh from acclaimed concerts in Los Angeles, the Calypso Band takes over with its authentic rhythms and high energy dance music from the Caribbean.

 HSU Percussion Ensemble, World Percussion Group and Calypso Band perform on Saturday May 4 at 8 p.m. in the Van Duzer Theatre on the HSU campus in Arcata. $7/$3 students & seniors, with first 50 HSU students admitted free. Tickets: 826-3928 or at the door. Directed by Eugene Novotney and Howard Kaufman, produced by HSU Music Department.

Media: Humboldt State Now, Arcata Eye, North Coast Journal

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