A Spring Break pick-me-up

Well, I got a rather nice email today from my publisher HoneyRock, of a review of my Marimba Fantasy by one Tom Morgan (whom I don't know) to be published in the April issue of Percussive Notes magazine. It's a good many times better than I would have expected any review for something of mine to be, so I thought I would share it for those interested. Check it:

This difficult and rewarding unaccompanied solo for five-octave marimba is written in a contemporary atonal or neo-tonal style with much rhythmic variation and complexity. The opening section (in 11/16) begins in octaves but is soon off in a playful romp that covers the entire range of the instrument. The texture is often one or two voices, punctuated by four-note chords. Interspersed are counter melodies and passages in contrary motion, with shifting rhythmic patterns and changing meters.

The piece eventually settles into a dance-like mood shifting between 5/8, 6/8 and 4/8, but this is shortlived. A monophonic, more free and legato section follows that soon returns to material similar to the opening. The most difficult part of the piece is probably the slower section, which requires the player to use a "mandolin roll" with the left hand, performing a rolled glissando while the right hand plays a choral as a one-handed roll on top. This moves to a more traditional rolled choral marked "majestic and broad."

The solo concludes with another fast sixteenth-note passage, climaxing with angular melodic patterns and a crescendo to fff. This is a monumental work requiring much musical and technical skill. It is destined to become a standard in the solo marimba literature.

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Composer of music and sonic art. Percussionist, guitarist, computer musician. Composition/theory/electronic music professor. Husband and father. Catholic. Food and beer enthusiast. Perpetually dissatisfied with the contents of my sock drawer.

5 thoughts on “A Spring Break pick-me-up”

  1. Scott:

    Congratulations. Composition is your passion and so I hope you would continue doing it even if the review in its entirety went as follows: “This piece is awful because you can’t whistle it in the shower.” Nevertheless, positive feedback can be wonderfully affirming and I’m glad you’re getting it.

    I’m listening to the mp3 right now and I have to say I concur heartily with your reviewer’s assessment, albeit with less knowledge of the solo marimba literature.

  2. BlASSco kicks ASSco.

    Oh wait, I should say something more profound, like, “Scott, you are an amazing, talented composer, and I hope that you will pursue this passion and receive positive recognition throughout your life.”

    And then I can say we used to play King’s X covers in a Calvin coffee house togther.


  3. Wow. Thanks to all three of you, and welcome AJ – a comment late, but who’s counting? (hopefully nobody)

    Troy, all you have to do is move out to Pasadena and we can play King’s X covers in a Fuller coffee house… come on, you know you want to!

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