Scintillations

Duration: Indeterminate

Difficulty: ★★★☆☆

Released: 2017

Players: (4) percussion/mallet instruments

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(dedicated to the Vanderbilt Percussion Group)

About “Scintillations”

Scintillation: the process of emitting flashes of light.

“SCINTILLATIONS” is a freeform mallet quartet in two parts which may be played in succession or independently. Suggested instrumentations are 4 marimbas or 2 vibraphones + 2 marimbas, although “SCINTILLATIONS” may be performed on any percussive (or non-percussive) instruments.

“SCINTILLATIONS” was premiered by the Vanderbilt Percussion Group at the Blair School of Music on April 4th, 2018. Clark Hubbard was asked to arrange the piece for non-melodic percussion instruments, and a drums-only version of this piece was premiered by the Eschaton New Music Ensemble on April 25th, 2018. Both (pitched + un-pitched) versions of “SCINTILLATIONS” are included in the score.

PART I
This movement draws inspiration from Peter Garland’s mallet quartet “Apple Blossom.” “SCINTILLATIONS, PART I” is a lush chorale where the chords slowly dissolve into one another. The score is a diagram with the progression of notes indicated spacially [shown below]. The duration of this movement is indicated 6-15 minutes, although the length is ultimately left up to the ensemble.

Notes should be sustained (via rolls, bows, etc) throughout the movement and may also be sustained through the opening of “PART II.” “SCINTILLATIONS, PART 1” should begin at a pianissimo dynamic, but the performers should feel free to swell and grow as they see fit. The indicated pitches may be performed in any octave on the instrument, although treble and bass clef symbols are presented to suggest a general range.

PART II
This movement is similar in spirit to “PART I,” but now includes a rhythmic variable. Each performer is presented with a series of cells/measures that include a set of pitches and a specified “number of attacks.” Each cell may be repeated an infinite number of times, but the entire ensemble should progress to the next cell in unison.

PART II • Rhythmic Notation
Each cell should be approximately 3 seconds in length (alternatively, each cell can be interpreted as the duration of a single quarter note at 20bpm). Above each cell, a specific number of attacks are indicated. Performers may play the number of attacks per cell in any rhythm they desire (ex. if a cell indicates “3 Attacks”, the performer may play a triplet, two 16th notes followed by an eighth note, a dotted eighth note followed by two 32nd notes, etc). The cells may be repeated infinitely and each performer may have a slightly different interpretation of the length of each cell. The performers do not need to play each cell in rhythmic unison but should progress to the next cell at approximately the same time.
PART II • Harmonic Notation
Each cell indicates a single pitch or a series of pitches. Like “PART I,” these may be performed in any register, although a general guide of treble and bass clef is presented. Performers should map the rhythmic component of each cell onto any of the indicated pitches. Performers should avoid double stops, playing only one pitch per attack.

“SCINTILLATIONS” is great for students who want to explore percussion music with unconventional notation and for students looking for a piece that offers communicative + interpretive challenges rather than technical challenges.

*in the linked audio recording, “Part II” of “SCINTILLATIONS” was performed using an earlier edition of the score. In that edition, the rhythms were more rigid and defined. In the current edition, the rhythmic structures are dramatically more free and unpredictable.

Windows

Duration: 14:51

Difficulty: ★★★☆☆

Released: 2017

Players: (5); 2 trumpets, french horn, trombone, bass trombone

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About “Windows”

I. Glass [4:29]

II. Screen [5:03]

III. Air [5:19]

“Windows” is a brass quintet (2 trumpets, French horn, trombone, and bass trombone) made up of three movements (I. Glass, II. Screen, III. Air) based on three different types of windows/elements of windows. The entire work is about 15 minutes long. The inspiration of the piece stems from one of the marimba solos I was learning for graduate school at the time I composed this piece: “Reflections on the Nature of Water” by Jacob Druckman. Prior to learning the piece, my professor (Ji Hye Jung) told me to listen to another piece by Jacob Druckman called “Windows.” Upon hearing only the name “Windows” I instantly thought I knew what it would sound like. Druckman’s “Windows” sounds nothing like what imagined it would. So, the brass quintet I’ve written, “Windows,” is the piece that I expected Druckman’s piece to be prior to listening to that piece, or any other by Jacob Druckman.

I decided to write for bass trombone instead of tuba because I love the sound of the bass trombone.

I.GLASS

Imagine giant panes of glass floating in space. Perfectly clean panes against a completely black background. There is a small source of light coming from somewhere beyond the glass. The light reflects off of the panes of glass as they rotate in space, sometimes defining the edges of the panes, sometimes causing the panes to appear invisible. This is movement I. Massive panes of glass floating in and out of existence.

II.SCREEN

The canon ostinato in the two trumpets is a rhythmic interpretation of a screen over a window. The trombones and French horn act as insects zipping onto and around the window (particularly with the glissandi).

III.AIR

This movement is an open window on the most peaceful of days. The gentle breeze from the outdoors, the purest moments of nature.

Amager 16

Duration: 11:17

Difficulty: ★★★☆☆

Released: 2016

Players: (2) 2 Snare Drums

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(written for the GreeneShark Duo)

About “Amager 16”

“AMAGER 16” is a snare drum duo in the style of a classical symphony with some contemporary elements. The work contains four movements that may be performed in succession or independently.

I. Sonata

The first movement follows classical sonata form with themes first presented in duple meter and later modulated to triple meter.

II. Slow

The second movement is framed by long buzz rolls and silent pauses. These textures are slowly overtaken by a quick, yet quiet, flurry of militaristic passages.

III. Waltz

The third movement is a waltz that involves both percussionists creating dynamic waves as their melodic phrases intersect.

IV. Finale

The fourth movement is a fast-paced recap of the previous movements while also introducing new material. One percussionist is called to perform rhythms by rapidly clicking their sticks together, but these passages may alternatively be played on the rim of the drum if the tempo proves to be too quick.

“AMAGER 16” is great for students who want to improve their snare drum technique while studying classical music forms. This is also an excellent piece for students to play alongside their instructor.