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Charon

marimba solo
Composer: Jonathan Anderson
Publisher: Innovative Percussion
Instrumentation: Marimba (5 octave)

Program Notes:
Charon was written for the marimba virtuoso Noriko Tsukagoshi. I merely heard the opening statement in my head one morning and thought it was so powerful I just had to use it. Harmonically, it was heavily influenced by Indian classical music using the same raga more than once through-out the piece. The title comes from Greek mythology. Charon (or Kharon) is the boatman that ferries the newly deceased across the rivers Styx and Acheron. I felt this fit the dark and aggressive attitude of the piece perfectly.

Review:
"This is a very interesting and advanced solo written for marimba virtuoso Noriko Tsukagoshi. Although idiomatic, it is very challenging both technically and usically. Even with meters that shift often, there are still extended sections in 7/8 that help give the piece a sense of groove and a strong pulse. Single independent strokes, double verticals, and interlocking/overlapping laterals are utilized effectively throughout this excellent composition. The independence required is significant, especially the section with the one-hand (independent) rolls in the right hand while the left hand is scored in the lower range. This necessitates a very large “wing span” (octave spread) over the instrument.

The composition covers the entire range of the instrument, which presents several body-position challenges and mallet selection considerations. As of the time of this writing, there is a video of Tsukagoshi giving an outstanding performance on YouTube, which provides excellent solutions to the many technical challenges in the piece.

The harmony of the piece has an Indian classical music influence evidenced by a recurring use of the same raga. According to the composer, “The title comes from Greek mythology. Charon (or Kharon) is the boatman that ferries the newly deceased across the rivers Styx and Acheron. I felt this fit the dark and aggressive attitude of the piece perfectly.” This is an excellent marimba solo that is suitable for advanced student and professional recital programming." — Jeff Moore Percussive Notes, July 2013

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Noriko Tsukagoshi Noriko Tsukagoshi
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