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Marimba Solo with Percussion Ensemble
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Composer: Dwayne Rice
Publisher: Innovative Percussion, Inc.
Instrumentation: 5 Marimbas (2 low C, 2 low A, 1 four octave), 2 Vibraphones, Xylophone, Bells

Program Notes:
"Concertino for Marimba is structured like a standard concertino, in one continuous movement, divided into several contrasting sections. It opens with a short statement by the soloist that is repeated by the ensemble in a different key, much like the opening of Beethoven's 4th Piano Concerto. For a concerto to begin with the soloist is rare. The ensuing piece takes a hidden motivic germ through many iterations, but reveals it as the piece progress, ultimately letting it take over every aspect of the music.

The marimba solo part could not exist without the ensemble parts, as they are intricately linked throughout the piece, which is scored for marimba soloist and seven mallet players. The piece was commissioned by the Trinity High School Percussion Ensemble and is dedicated to Andrew Eldridge."

“Concertino” features a marimba soloist utilizing a five-octave marimba skillfully woven within a mallet septet of xylophone, two vibraphones, and four marimbas. Three of the marimba parts are written for a low-A instrument and the bass part uses a second five-octave marimba. Commissioned by the Trinity High School Percussion Ensemble directed by Michael Mathew and dedicated to Andrew Eldridge, “Concertino” was premiered at PASIC 2006 in Austin, Texas by Trinity High School with Eldridge as the marimba soloist.

After a brief opening chorale by the soloist, “Concertino” begins with a presto 12/8 that gradually adds the entire ensemble before the soloist enters. Here, the real power of the work is focused on the solo marimba.

Written for an advanced player, Rice artfully takes the soloist through motives containing bold eighth-note passages with quick double-lateral passages and sextuplets spanning the range of the instrument. Rice avoids“over writing” and gives both the soloist and the ensemble plenty of space for development. The dialogue and pacing between the soloist and ensemble is strong and compelling. While the solo part is challenging but accessible, the ensemble parts are not too difficult. The work concludes with a powerful statement by the soloist with the ensemble accentuating downbeats. The final moments might have been even stronger had the ensemble imitated the soloist’s musical direction. “Concertino” has an attractive, progressive harmonic atmosphere and there are tuneful sections primarily performed by the vibraphones and xylophone. A through-composed work, Rice combines staggered arpeggiated patterns and ostinatos to create ensemble drive and interest in a similar manner to David Gillingham’s compositions. Yet, while Gillingham’s works often focus on melodic and timbre development, Rice effectively chooses to concentrate on motivic and rhythmic development utilizing texture and chordal shifts. The result is a solid, driving work featuring an advanced marimbist. — Mark Ford Percussive Notes, June 2007

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Dwayne Rice Dwayne Rice
Freelance Composer & Arranger
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