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STEVE REICH: Mallet Quartet
TAN DUN: Elegy: Snow in June
AUGUSTA READ THOMAS: Selene (Moon Chariot Rituals)
ERIC SAMMUT: Caméléon
GEORGE CRUMB: Winds of Destiny (American Songbook IV)
AMFS Pop Music Quiz:
Q: What do the following have in common?...A string quartet, 200 percussion instruments, Snow in June (brrr), an amplified cello, Civil war songs and a birthday celebration?
A: They are all featured on the AMFS Percussion Ensemble Concert on August 7 at 6 pm in Harris Concert Hall.
The annual percussion ensemble concert is one of the most eclectic, evocative, and fun-filled concerts of the summer featuring an array of instruments, styles of music, and eye-opening performances to satisfy the musical curiosity of audiences of all ages.
The concert opens with Elegy: Snow in June composed by legendary Chinese-born composer Tan Dun, best known for his Academy-Award-winning film score for Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. This is a concerto for cello and four percussionists. The image of "Snow in June" comes from the thirteenth-century Chinese drama by Kuan Han-Ching. The cello sings of pity and purity, beauty, and darkness, and is a lament for victims everywhere, surrounded by an array of percussion instruments that will boggle the mind and senses.
The concert also features a newly emerging art form, that of combining the storied sound of the string quartet with that of the modern percussion section. In Selene (Moon Chariot Rituals), a string quartet is joined by a percussion quartet, and the combination of these two quite different instrumental families results in one of the most strikingly distinctive sound-worlds to be encountered in Augusta Read Thomas's output. The piece depicts a sense of vast spaces covered in the blink of an eye as Selene, the lunar goddess of Greek mythology, would do when driving her moon chariot across the firmaments.
This year marks the 70th birthday of legendary minimalist composer Steve Reich, whose Mallet Quartet has become one of the most important and quintessential compositions to gain world wide notoriety. The Mallet Quartet features 2 marimbas (wood) and 2 vibraphones (metal) in a delightfully evocative and exciting romp through musical lines and gestures, with the trademark Reich musical phrases that inspire the mind to drift and dream.
One of our most important living American Composers, George Crumb has captured the essence of what it is to be an American in his series of American Songbooks. Book IV, The Winds of Destiny, epitomizes the strength of conviction that our foremothers and fathers exhibited while forging the new world, captured in song such as "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" and other assorted favorite Civil War songs, folk melodies, and spirituals. This brilliant tribute to Americana sets the scene to celebrate our American heritage with percussion instruments and soprano voice combined, to win the day!