Home is a reference to both my home in Rochester and “our collective home”, the earth. The piece is in three distinct movements and spans approximately 20 minutes. The first movement is titled, Painted Hills and refers to the stunning tapestry the landscape of colored leaves creates in the Fall Season. The movement is orchestrated for solo marimba and pitched metallic percussion. The second is titled White Pines, and was inspired by the energy, crispness and majesty of these snow-covered trees in the winter months. It is scored for solo marimba with both keyboard and battery percussion. The final Movement, titled Home, serves as the epilogue to the work. The solo marimba is a continuously evolving harmonic motor with sparsely placed pitched gong and keyboard percussion interjections.
Home is dedicated to and commissioned by the internationally renowned percussion group Nexus. It was premiered on a concert dedicated to sustainability and environmental awareness at the Eastman School of Music on May 1, 2015.
Programmatically, the composer tries to capture the beauty of his own home, Rochester, NY and “our collective home:” Earth. Commissioned by Nexus, this 20-minute work for solo marimba and percussion quartet has become a very popular addition to recital and percussion ensemble programs, alike — and rightfully so.
As the title suggests, the composition is in three movements: I. Painted Hills, II. White Pines, III. Home. The outer movements are shorter and utilize pitched, metallic instruments, along with the marimba solo. These movements are much more atmospheric and harmonically driven, serving as an introductory portrait and epilogue, respectively. The metallic colors are beautifully orchestrated, creating a warm listening experience. I am especailly fond of the use of copper pipes. The middle movement is the longest (c. 11 minutes), the most difficult and incorporates more of the accompanying instruments; this movement is easily, and is often seen, programmed alone. This driving movement is meant to depict the majestic nature of snow-covered pines.
The soloist must possess a high level of musical maturity and be comfortable with all stroke types; additionally, the required stamina requires a seasons performer. Because of its length, one could easily showcase three soloists. The accompaniment is wonderfully composed; it does not overpower the soloist, but rather blends to create an exceptional listening experience that leaves the listener wanting to press “repeat.”
The score includes three poems written by the composer’s daughter. Each poem beautifully coincides with the music of its respective movement. The work was commissioned for and premiered on a concert dedicated to environmental awareness and sustainability.
– T. Adam Blackstock, Percussive News – March 2017