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Promise Music

percussion nonet
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Composer: Clif Walker
Publisher: Innovative Percussion, Inc.
Instrumentation: bells, 2-vibraphones, 3-marimbas, wood wind chimes, glass, wind chimes, 2-rainsticks, chimes, ride cymbal, prepared gong, crotales, F crotale (bowed on timpani), sleigh bell, suspended cymbal, mark tree gong

Program Notes:
Originally conceived and written as a marimba solo with small ensemble accompaniment, it was later revised (2007) and expanded to seven, then nine equal parts. It was performed in its final form at the 2007 Percussive Arts Society International Convention by the Florida State University percussion ensemble as a winner of the "call for tapes “competition under the direction of Dr. John W. Parks IV. The work attempts to convey the mood of a promise. A strong, simple melody withstanding an undercurrent of activity, changes, modulations. Intentionally, it was written without the use of any drums/membranophones, leaving all the challenges of energy, aggressiveness, and excitement exclusively to keyboards and various metals (cymbals, gongs, and triangle). The struck crotale on timpani effect is in memory of, and was introduced to the composer by, the late Michael Hooley of Northeast Missouri State University.

Review:
"Scored for nine performers, “Promise Music” has the following part assignments: 1—bells; 2—vibraphone; 3—vibraphone; 4—five-octave marimba and wooden wind chimes; 5—4.3-octave marimba and glass wind chimes; 6—5.0-octave marimba and rainstick; 7—chimes; 8—crotales, ride cymbal and gong; 9—mark tree, suspended cymbal, gong, vibraslap and sleighbells.

This composition has an “organic” minimalistic style. After an opening section characterized by “atmospheric” mood-shaping timbres (such as a crotale on the edge of a timpani, mark tree, wooden wind chimes, etc.), performer 4 initiates a melodic motive on marimba that is imitated by players 5 and 6, underpinned by player 8’s light ride cymbal ostinato (which is the same rhythm as the marimba’s melodic rhythm).

The overall structure of “Promise Music” appears to be arch-form, with the concluding section being similar to its opening. There are numerous mixedmeter changes, which create an intrinsic syncopation. This percussion ensemble will certainly fit the need for large, mature college percussion ensembles." — Jim Lambert Percussive Notes, August/September 2009

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