Acquiescent Blues is my very first composition employing vibes in a solo context. This duo is for EASTHAMA, the mallet duo consisting of Lindsey Eastham and Hiromu Nagahama, who were winners of the Duo Category at the last Southern California International Marimba Compeition in 2013.
Includes a 23 page spiral bound score, 8 page vibraphone part and 12 page marimba part.
Written for percussion duo Easthama, “Acquiescent Blues” is a charming and demanding work for marimba and vibes. Clocking in at around 7-1/2 minutes, this piece will be a rewarding journey for performers and listeners.
This piece is a true duet in the sense that no part outshines the other. Some sections feature the vibraphone while others the marimba, and many sections place both instruments on equal footing. Many of these passages involve hocket-style writing between the players, requiring a mature sense of time and rhythmic interpretation from both musicians. The piece is through-composed with various sections connected by Gordon Stout’s unique harmonic language. Players will contend with a good amount of chromaticism and interesting chord structures throughout the work, but the identifiable themes help to ground the piece.
Mature musicians will be needed for this piece, not only for the number of notes and the advanced harmonic and rhythmic content, but also for the constantly shifting meters. While some sections stay anchored in a single meter, in other areas, the meter is in constant flux. The first ten measures alone shift between 7/8, 6/8, 9/8 and 2/8.
Finally, players should note that mallet selection will be a challenge. Stout uses just about every ounce of each instrument, outside of the hightest fifth or so of the marimba. Also, one of the main themes of the piece is a small, thirty-second-note gesture. This means that mallets will need to be articulate enough to sound out this theme, and at the same time sound good throughout the entire range of the instrument.
With “Acquiescent Blues,” Stout has provided percussionists with a wonderful contribution to the continuously growing repertoire of marimba and vibraphone duets. This piece would be at home on an advanced undergraduate recital or a concert with seasoned professionals. Listeners will be in for a harmonically colorful and engaging piece that will satisfy performers and audiences alike.
— Brian Nozny, Percussive Notes — July 2017