Performed By: John Kinzie, marimba and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Marin Alsop, conductor

Movements:
I. Allegro/Cross Rhythms/Relaxed/Allegro Assai/Pass the Plate II. Slowly, in Muted Colors III. Raucous/Full turning/Allegro/Constant Billy: Setting the Beans/Finale

Instrumentation:
Marimba, full orchestra: 2 flutes (1 doubles piccolo), 2 oboes, 2 clarinets (1 doubles bass clarinet), 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 3 C trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, 3 percussion: [1 - In front: 55 gallon oil drum, suspended clay flower pots (small, medium, large), water gong (small), brake drums (2), amplified steel wok top, washboard, claves, In back: vibraphone, snare drum], [2 - In front: log drum (low), bongos (high, low), castanets, ride cymbal, hi-hat, wood blocks (high, medium, low), temple blocks, cowbell, rainstick, claves, In back: gongs (2), tam-tam (large), tubular bells, wood block], [3 - In front: claves, bass drum, In back: 5 tom-toms, suspended cymbal, triangle, 3 timpani (30'', 28'', 25'')], strings (1 stand doubles electric bass)

Duration: 23 minutes

Commissioned By:
Elgin Symphony Orchestra, Erie Philharmonic, Florida Symphony Orchestra, Greenville Symphony Orchestra, Long Beach Symphony Orchestra, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, Rochester Symphony orchestra, San Antonio Symphony, South Dakota Symphony, The Toledo Symphony, The Syracuse Symphony and New Music Marimba, Inc.

Premiere:
1992 by the Long Beach Symphony, JoAnn Falletta, conductor

Available From:
ECS Publishing (rental)

Composer's Notes:
Marimba Concerto: After Hampton places instruments which were absent in baroque, classical and romantic orchestras in solo positions. The marimba is the principal solo instrument and the percussion gradually forms a concerto grosso ensemble, moving from the back of the orchestra to the front. In moving from back to front, the percussion joins the marimba in the principal role of the concerto voice and at the same time allows a kind of visual listening experience.

The work is in three movements. The first movement begins with the assumption that after the work of Lionel Hampton in the 1930's and 1940's, the mallet percussion instrument was established in our culture as a vehicle for principal musical material. The marimba and the orchestra explore the form of the concerto and challenge each other to rhythmic excursions. After a brief moment of relaxed activity, the rhythmic challenges are taken up again in the form of a musical game - pass the plate. Musical bits are passed quickly among the members of the ensemble in an effort to trick someone into making a mistake. The second movement explores the marimba as a melodic instrument. Because of the way the marimba is constructed and played, the notion of sustained melody changes in our minds. Unlike any of the orchestral instruments in the strings, woodwinds or brass, the marimba cannot sustain a note smoothly in any way other than tremolo. Peaceful, quiet lines through even, constant motion form the basis for this movement. The third movement explores the marimba as an ensemble member. In many non-western cultures, the marimba is played by an ensemble of musicians. The third movement of the Marimba Concerto: After Hampton takes into account drumming ensembles, Morris dancing, and Polynesian stick dancing by bringing two of the percussionists forward and asking them to interact in movement in addition to their musical performance.

— Libby Larsen
 
To rent this piece, please visit ECS Publishing.

Additional Information:
Edited by William Moersch

Filter By