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CURRENTS for 4 percussion is divided into 4 main sections and explores various perspectives of the principles of timbral and metric modulation. Timbral and metric “currents” in the music interact and blend in a manner analogous to currents in physical mediums. In addition, there is an element of implied theater. As the work begins, 3 percussionists are conducted in the traditional manner by the 4th. Next to the conductor, clearly visible in front of the main percussion battery, is a wooden board bridging two saw horses and a carpenter’s hand saw. These sit idly through much of the work, long enough to arouse curiosity in the audience as to the role of these prominently displayed construction objects. About midway through the composition the conductor lifts the saw overhead and strikes it. This serves as a cutoff gesture and also establishes that the saw is an “extension” of the conductor’s baton. The saw remains idle until the beginning of the fourth division of the work. During the final section it is used simultaneously as a “baton” and a percussion instrument by the director, who saws through wood, scrapes the saw’s teeth, slaps it on the board, strikes it with a mallet, and waves it in the air. At the very end of the work the conductor sets down the saw and walks behind the players to play the tam-tam. In doing so, he continues to direct the ensemble through the explosive conclusion. Percussion distribution: Perc. 1: 2 anvils (metal pipes may be substituted), 2 cow bells, snare drum, 2 suspended cymbals, tambourine, timpani (1), xylophone & wind chimes; Perc. 2: hi-hat, maracas, 2 suspended cymbals, triangle, large tam-tam, 4 tom toms, and vibraphone; Perc. 3: Bass drum, guiro, marimba, 2 suspended cymbals, temple blocks & triangle; Perc. 4 (conductor): Carpenter’s saw, a 2x2” wooden board & 2 saw horses. “A memorable combination of percussive artistry and theatrical class “ - The Washington Post.
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