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Friction (Download)

for marimba duo with audio
Level: Advanced
Duration: 9:25
Personnel: 2 players
Release Date: 2015
Product ID : TSPCD15-004DL
Price: $26.00
Item #: TSPCD15-004DL

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Description

Brian Blume’s Friction is a tour de force for marimba duo with audio accompaniment. Masterfully composed, the work consists of two movements—I. Internal and II. External—that each explore the concept of friction in different ways that have the potential to raise the hairs on the back of your neck. The audio accompaniment tracks create a tense, electric sound bed on which the two marimbists spin a complicated web of rhythmic and harmonic dissonance that delivers a powerful musical (even cinematic) experience to the listener.

Instrumentation

  • 2 marimbas—low C
  • PA system (used for playing the audio accompaniment)

Reviews

Written for two marimbists and re-corded audio, this work explores the part friction plays in our lives. Friction can be a good thing, such as in starting a fire with wood alone. But according to the performance notes, “friction can also be a problem: slowing motion of an object we wish to continue in motion; or heating something up beyond a safe temperature. And in the world of relationships, with ourselves and others, friction isinevitable.”

The composer uses several musical de-vices to communicate friction. The first movement, “Internal,” begins with both marimbas playing bowed notes while the audio adds static sounds. This gives way to four-note chords that, at times, are fairly dissonant tone clusters. As the movement becomes more involved, odd and mixed meters are introduced that create a disjointed effect. Occasional short moments of polyrhythmic conflict occur as well, again reflecting the idea of friction. The note values become smaller and the melodic material becomes more angular as the piece progresses. A climax is reached with the marimbas playing sixteenth-note triplets and thirty-second-note patterns while the audio provides rhythmic punctuations. The movement concludes soon after the climax by fading into oblivion.

The second movement, “External,” is much faster and even more rhythmically complex. The marimbas enter in the second bar with continued major seconds played with accents occurring in unexpected places in the 5/4 meter. Soon, odd-note groupings of three, five, and seven begin to appear against a contrasting rhythmic subdivision. Most of the time, the marimbas are not in sync with each other, sometimes mirroring each other and other times playing completely unrelated material. Glissandi are used frequently as the excitement and friction begin to build. There are several places in the movement where the energy level drops momentarily, but these sections move into new conflicting patterns between the marimbas and the audio material. The piece concludes with a very rhythmically powerful passage of mixed meters, five-note groupings, and quarter-note triplets.

This is a very effective piece that requires fairly advanced technical skill from both marimbists. It is representative of a whole group of pieces for live players and recorded audio that have been appearing the past few years. It’s nice to see this genre returning after falling out of favor around the middle 1970s. This work shows the great potential of this kind of composition.

–Tom Morgan
Percussive Notes
Vol. 54, No. 2, May 2016

Description

Brian Blume’s Friction is a tour de force for marimba duo with audio accompaniment. Masterfully composed, the work consists of two movements—I. Internal and II. External—that each explore the concept of friction in different ways that have the potential to raise the hairs on the back of your neck. The audio accompaniment tracks create a tense, electric sound bed on which the two marimbists spin a complicated web of rhythmic and harmonic dissonance that delivers a powerful musical (even cinematic) experience to the listener.

Instrumentation

  • 2 marimbas—low C
  • PA system (used for playing the audio accompaniment)

Reviews

Written for two marimbists and re-corded audio, this work explores the part friction plays in our lives. Friction can be a good thing, such as in starting a fire with wood alone. But according to the performance notes, “friction can also be a problem: slowing motion of an object we wish to continue in motion; or heating something up beyond a safe temperature. And in the world of relationships, with ourselves and others, friction isinevitable.”

The composer uses several musical de-vices to communicate friction. The first movement, “Internal,” begins with both marimbas playing bowed notes while the audio adds static sounds. This gives way to four-note chords that, at times, are fairly dissonant tone clusters. As the movement becomes more involved, odd and mixed meters are introduced that create a disjointed effect. Occasional short moments of polyrhythmic conflict occur as well, again reflecting the idea of friction. The note values become smaller and the melodic material becomes more angular as the piece progresses. A climax is reached with the marimbas playing sixteenth-note triplets and thirty-second-note patterns while the audio provides rhythmic punctuations. The movement concludes soon after the climax by fading into oblivion.

The second movement, “External,” is much faster and even more rhythmically complex. The marimbas enter in the second bar with continued major seconds played with accents occurring in unexpected places in the 5/4 meter. Soon, odd-note groupings of three, five, and seven begin to appear against a contrasting rhythmic subdivision. Most of the time, the marimbas are not in sync with each other, sometimes mirroring each other and other times playing completely unrelated material. Glissandi are used frequently as the excitement and friction begin to build. There are several places in the movement where the energy level drops momentarily, but these sections move into new conflicting patterns between the marimbas and the audio material. The piece concludes with a very rhythmically powerful passage of mixed meters, five-note groupings, and quarter-note triplets.

This is a very effective piece that requires fairly advanced technical skill from both marimbists. It is representative of a whole group of pieces for live players and recorded audio that have been appearing the past few years. It’s nice to see this genre returning after falling out of favor around the middle 1970s. This work shows the great potential of this kind of composition.

–Tom Morgan
Percussive Notes
Vol. 54, No. 2, May 2016



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