Duration: 5.75 minutes
Players: (1) Vibraphone + Electronics
(Commissioned by Danielle Gonzalez)
About “Boulder Canyon, Hoover Dam”
“BOULDER CANYON, HOOVER DAM” was commissioned by Danielle Gonzalez after hearing an early version of my marimba solo “산 • San • Mountain.”
“BOULDER CANYON, HOOVER DAM” was originally written as a component of Danielle’s “Natural Beauty” show – a multimedia concert program featuring percussion music and promoting environmental protection and sustainability. While visiting Hoover Dam in the summer of 2019, I decided that it was the perfect combination of clean energy, humankind’s relationship with nature, industry, and American history to serve as the theme for this composition.
Structurally, “BOULDER CANYON, HOOVER DAM” is based on the 1955 Bureau of Reclamation documentary “The Story of Hoover Dam” which is shown to tourists visiting Hoover Dam. I condensed the 28 minute documentary into a 6 minute narrative to serve as the backbone of “BOULDER CANYON, HOOVER DAM.”
I intended “BOULDER CANYON, HOOVER DAM” to be performed without a click track, so the track features a “metronome” comprised of water and industrial sounds to guide the performer. Much of the melodic material used in both the backing track and the vibraphone solo part are inspired by the music of Steve Reich as well as dance and pop music. In other instances, the melodic material is a melodicization of the narration from the documentary.
While Hoover Dam is geographically located in Black Canyon, the legislation that resulted in the construction of Hoover Dam was “The Boulder Canyon Project Act of 1928,” hence the name of the piece: “BOULDER CANYON, HOOVER DAM.”
“BOULDER CANYON, HOOVER DAM” is great for students interested in electro-acoustic music, multimedia performance pieces, and contemporary percussion music with a pop music influence. This solo features two-mallet playing, four-mallet playing, and playing with one hand while bowing the vibraphone with the other.
When I delivered “BOULDER CANYON, HOOVER DAM” to Danielle, I also sent her a link to the complete documentary, “The Story of Hoover Dam,” around which I created this piece. Danielle then created a condensed edit of the video component of the documentary to play in sync with the backing track during performances. “BOULDER CANYON, HOOVER DAM” may be performed with or without video projection.
– electronic playback [.wav] + video projection [.mov] are included with purchase of the score.