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Precipice (by Allan Shindler)

Price: $35.00

Product Information

Recorded as the title piece on Albany Records cd TROY855 by Nathaniel Bartlett, this work explores the remarkable range of textures, timbres and
playing techniques of the five octave marimba, interwoven with vibrant and haunting computer-generated sounds.

Composed in 2004, this 17-minute-plus composition is scored for 5.0-octave marimba and computer generated sounds. In the vernacular, this is a piece for marimba and tape; however the tape in this instance consists of six separate audio tracks/cues that must each be triggered/played back during performance by means of a foot switch operated by the marimbist.
Included with the sizable 11x17-in bound score is a CD-R that contains a PDF file with four pages of instructions regarding the electronic accompaniment, stereo audio files in AIFF and WAV formats, and a Pure Data (PD) patch. A second CD-R is available to purchase separately that includes higher quality audio files in stereo and quadrophonic (four-speaker surround) formats, as well as the PD patch, which is merely an option for playback of the six audio files.

In addition to the technological requirements of the work, numerous extended performance techniques are required for the marimba, such as bar dampening, dead strokes, stick clicks, playing on nodes and use of the voice. Unfortunately, the voice and extended techniques are entirely underutilized; they rarely appear after the first three minutes of the composition, resulting in a bland solo marimba timbre palette with a typically rich and varied electronic accompaniment. A primary component of the composition is the exploration of various types and speeds of rolls.
This is a worthwhile work that requires a marimbist with mature technical skills and aestheic conception. The extremely dense score will require a patient interpreter to wade through the compacted notation of the marimba/voice and computer accompniment, and while the work is quite beautiful to listen to, its length and aesthetic quality will require a patient audience.
A recording of "Precipice" is available from the Albany label (TROY855) on a hybrid multi-channel super audio CD of the same name. A one-page score example and audio recording excerpt are available on the publisher's website.
Ron Coulter, Percussive Notes -- November 2011

View Excerpt

Musical Features18-minute soundscape for marimba and digital playback. The six audio cues must be started at different points throughout the piece (probably best through the use of a foot pedal next to the performer). Very freely composed, with no meter, and no key center. Performer must carefully decide on rate and speed of each gesture, to loosely align with tape, but more importantly, to create rhythmic interest or variety.
Technical FeaturesThere’s a little bit of every kind of stroke thrown in, and some larger reaches across the instrument, but nothing incredibly difficult. There are many one-handed, lateral rolls notated – the performer would do well to bring as much sonic variety to the marimba part as possible. Some dead strokes, col legno (stick shot), handle accent, and stick clicking too.
DurationApprox. 18 minutes
InstrumentationMarimba 5.0 Octave - 4 Mallets
Level SuggestionCollege/Professional