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mallet keyboard quintet
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Composer: Anders Åstrand
Publisher: GPN Publishing distributed by Innovative Percussion
Instrumentation: Crotales, 2 vibraphone, 2 marimba

Program Notes:
On a cold January night in 1990 while in the town of Piteå in Northern Sweden, I was inspired by an extraordinary aurora borealis. I looked at this phenomenon in awe, as it appeared like a flaming wall against the clear, starry sky. The music was originally composed for Trio Extempore (Lennart Simonsson keyboards, Bengt Ernryd trumpet, Anders Åstrand mallets), and rearranged for Global Percussion Network in 2001.

“Norrsken,” subtitled “Aurora Borealis,” is a beautiful mallet quintet for two marimbas, two vibraphones and crotales. The work opens with a haunting ostinato in the marimbas that continues to the end of the piece. The vibraphones enter with a meditative melody highlighted by sparse notes in the crotale part. The work gradually builds in melodic density and dynamics culminating in a fortissimo unison of vibes and crotales. From here the action winds down through the last few measures. The parts are very accessible to even moderately skilled players, resulting in a work that is not overly challenging but sure to please any audience. —Scott Herring Percussive Notes, February 2005

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