Each of the five movements in this piece for solo vibraphone depicts a Bible verse that suggests some form of light or darkness. The first movement, “The LIght Shines in the Darkness,” has an improvisatory feeling, with long, contemplative periods of inactivity and frequent subdivision shifts, making the beat difficult to find. For much of the second movement, “Separating Light from Darkness,” simple melodic fragments are played over a bubbling thirty-second-note ostinato. The climax of this movement features resounding, dissonant blocks of sound that gradually dissipate.
Movement three, “Where Darkness Abides,” is very slow and begins with a rolled passage of expanding chords. The middle section features a thirty-second-note permutation pattern that creates a slow-moving, vertical sonority. The movement ends in the same calming manner that it began.
“Darkness into Light,” the fourth movement, features spacious, arpeggiated chords that have a suspension-resolution effect. The final movement, “Armor of Light,” is very rhythmic, with constantly changing mixed meters. Along with traditional keyboard techniques, the performer is asked to use the mallet shafts on the edges of the bars throughout the movement. This movement offers the most technical challenges as the performer deals with sticking patterns and pedal markings simultaneously.
Overall, “Contemplations of Darkness and Light” is an effective work for an advanced student or professional and at 16 minutes in length would fill a large time block on a recital.
— Scott Herring, Percussive Notes — December 2007
Click below to listen to a recording of Contemplations of Darkness and Light: