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Dancing Shadows

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

Program Notes:
Dancing Shadows was written for the world renowned marimba artist Hiromi Kamiya. Dancing Shadows was actually a challenge I had laid out for myself: Variations on an incredibly simple theme. The theme is literally three notes long. You can hear it repeated a seemingly endless number of times in the very beginning of the piece. The title came to me as the imagery of shadows from candle light flickering on the wall. It seemed to suit the little three note theme quite well.

"This virtuosic solo demonstrates how a simple three-note motive can develop into a complex work of art. Venturing through a variety of textures, characters, tonalities, tempi, and meters, the original idea regularly finds its way back into the material. Jonathan Anderson disguises these quotes very nicely, rather than blatantly repeating the motives. Listeners will likely discover new aspects upon multiple hearings. Anderson throws out all the stops in this piece, which places extreme technical and musical demands on the marimbist.

Approximately 10 minutes in length, this solo should be approached only by advanced marimbists. With the use of octave intervals, one-handed rolls, and triple lateral strokes, the technical elements will stretch even the most experienced performers.

Evolving out of a minimalistic idea, the material nearly expands to a full-out groove. However, sporadic triplet runs interrupt and never let the groove establish for a long duration of time. After a medium-length chorale, which implies rolls although none are notated, another border-line groove is reached. A mellow, arpeggiated section follows and eventually begins to incorporate the original motive. Activity and intensity increase, venturing through different time signatures and implied tonal centers, as the material reaches a climax. After a fermata, the final three measures conclude with a faint statement of the three-note theme.

Stamina, nuance, advanced musical understanding, and supreme technical abilities are vital for a successful performance of this piece. Marimbists will need to invest a significant number of hours studying the score and working on the necessary techniques. I highly recommend watching Hiromi Kamiya, for whom the piece was written, perform the work on YouTube." — Darin Olson Percussive Notes, July 2013

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