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Preludes

marimba solo
Composer: Robert McClure
Publisher: Innovative Percussion, Inc.
Instrumentation: Marimba (5 octave)

Program Notes:
Each movement is dedicated to a member of the Bowling Green State University Percussion Studio that Mr. McClure knew well while he was also a member. The prelude is characteristic of the percussionist to whom it is dedicated. Each prelude is highly independent of the others. As a result, they can be performed separately, in any combination, or as a whole. Prelude I is a very rhythmic piece based on several ostinati patterns. It is filled syncopated rhythms and surprise pauses. Prelude II begins with an altered chorale form. Instead of rolling, the “chorale” is made up of 16th notes played very fast and quietly. The notes falling on the beat should not be accented or stand out. Overall, this should sound like a wash of sound. It requires that the performer be very comfortable with the two different 16th note patterns used. Prelude III is a fast, ever changing race through dissonance. The piece is loosely based on octatonic scales. Two main motives provide the structure for this movement. This prelude is rhythmic and syncopated in nature. Prelude IV is a chorale for marimba. Prelude V is loosely based on the theme and variations form. The melodic content that reappears is presented in the left hand of the performer as a bass line. This movement relies heavily on the right and left hand being completely independent from the other.

Review:
"The five contrasting movements of “Preludes” for unaccompanied marimba solo were each inspired by a different schoolmate of the composer. McClure uses these musical miniatures to reflect their personalities and musical abilities. The first prelude opens with a slow interlocking ostinato pattern that is accelerated then used to begin the second half. This duple groove is then morphed into a triplet feel to round out the movement. The second movement begins with a “prescribed” chorale in which the rapid, written-out sixteenth notes sound like a rolled chorale. The remainder of this movement is predominately scored in 7/8 with occasional unexpected pauses. “Prelude III” is perhaps the most technically challenging and lively in the collection with a tempo of eighth-note = 440! For the movement, the performer needs exemplary control of sequential stickings and the ability to perform a mandolin (or independent) roll. Prelude IV is a lyrical chorale, while the majority of the final prelude features a left-hand ostinato that supports a rolled melody in the right hand. The variety of styles present in McClure’s work will make it appealing to a wide range of performers and percussion pedagogues." - Scott Herring Percussive Notes, October 2008

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