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Trio (Download)

for percussion
Level: Advanced
Duration: 6:00
Personnel: 3 players
Release Date: 2019
Product ID : TSPCE19-034DL
Price: $35.00
Item #: TSPCE19-034DL

Formats Available:


Description

Mitchell Beck wrote his Trio for percussion with the goal of composing a piece that uses relatively inexpensive instruments and has a compact setup. Some of the instruments used are “found instruments” like cans, glass bottles, and planks of wood. The rest of the instruments are more typical to the percussion family like woodblocks, tambourines, shakers, and cowbells. The musical material of Trio consists of a disjunct groove that is interrupted by complex rhythmic ideas and odd time signatures. The focus on different players shifts throughout the piece too, keeping the players and the audience on their toes. 

Instrumentation

• high woodblock

• 3 tin cans (1 small, 1 med-small, 1 large)

• 2 light shakers

• 3 tambourines (2 regular, 1 suspended)

• 3 cowbells

• claves

• maracas (Afro-Cuban)

• maracas (Venezuelan)

• 3 wood planks

• 3 glass bottles

• ocarina

• train whistle

Reviews

“Trio” is a new addition to the found-percussion repertoire, similar to works by John Cage and Lou Harrison. Written with the goal of being easily portable and with a relatively inexpensive instrumentation, Mitchell Beck created a work that combines this unique instrumentation with complex rhythms and interesting textures that is exciting to listen to and challenging to execute.

“Trio” is comprised of three major sections. The first is energetic with sixteenth notes that function as the driving force, played on either the edge of a can or on a glass bottle. While someone is always playing this driving rhythm, each group member gets a chance to stand out by playing a distinctly contrasting rhythm, such as a combination of triplets and quintuplets. This, along with the constantly changing time signatures, creates rhythmic challenges for the ensemble to overcome. However, Beck wrote several cadence points in this section that are completely in unison, which give both the performers and the audience satisfying arrival moments.

The second section is much more textural. While it employs the similar complex rhythms as the previous music, it loses the driving sixteenths. In place of this, a constant sustained sound, either a shaken tambourine, maraca, or the ocarina, is used to create a more ethereal character. This section ends with a notated accelerando in unison from all three players that leads to the finale. Here, the energetic character of the beginning returns, along with the complex and driving rhythms. The sustained sounds of the train whistle and ocarina are also incorporated to tie together all the music that has been made thus far. The piece ends with another well-written accelerando gesture in unison culminating in five powerful attacks of arrival.

With the rhythms and sounds created by the cans, bottles, and shakers, segments of this piece sound to be inspired by Cage’s “Third Construction,” only for three players and an abbreviated instrumentation. The third section especially sounds dangerously close to the climactic portions of the Cage piece, replacing the conch shell with the train whistle and ocarina. However, the several unison gestures that Beck created at cadence points and at the finale give this work its own identity, not to mention that the ocarina has a wider range of sounds than the conch shell.

Best suited for mature percussionists who have an ear for the necessary diversity of sounds that Beck is calling for, “Trio” is a challenging addition to the repertoire started by Cage and Harrison. It will challenge the rhythmic accuracy and chamber abilities of the performers, but when properly executed, is an exciting piece to witness and program.

—Kyle Cherwinski
Percussive Notes 
Vol. 58, No. 2, April 2020

Description

Mitchell Beck wrote his Trio for percussion with the goal of composing a piece that uses relatively inexpensive instruments and has a compact setup. Some of the instruments used are “found instruments” like cans, glass bottles, and planks of wood. The rest of the instruments are more typical to the percussion family like woodblocks, tambourines, shakers, and cowbells. The musical material of Trio consists of a disjunct groove that is interrupted by complex rhythmic ideas and odd time signatures. The focus on different players shifts throughout the piece too, keeping the players and the audience on their toes. 

Instrumentation

• high woodblock

• 3 tin cans (1 small, 1 med-small, 1 large)

• 2 light shakers

• 3 tambourines (2 regular, 1 suspended)

• 3 cowbells

• claves

• maracas (Afro-Cuban)

• maracas (Venezuelan)

• 3 wood planks

• 3 glass bottles

• ocarina

• train whistle

Reviews

“Trio” is a new addition to the found-percussion repertoire, similar to works by John Cage and Lou Harrison. Written with the goal of being easily portable and with a relatively inexpensive instrumentation, Mitchell Beck created a work that combines this unique instrumentation with complex rhythms and interesting textures that is exciting to listen to and challenging to execute.

“Trio” is comprised of three major sections. The first is energetic with sixteenth notes that function as the driving force, played on either the edge of a can or on a glass bottle. While someone is always playing this driving rhythm, each group member gets a chance to stand out by playing a distinctly contrasting rhythm, such as a combination of triplets and quintuplets. This, along with the constantly changing time signatures, creates rhythmic challenges for the ensemble to overcome. However, Beck wrote several cadence points in this section that are completely in unison, which give both the performers and the audience satisfying arrival moments.

The second section is much more textural. While it employs the similar complex rhythms as the previous music, it loses the driving sixteenths. In place of this, a constant sustained sound, either a shaken tambourine, maraca, or the ocarina, is used to create a more ethereal character. This section ends with a notated accelerando in unison from all three players that leads to the finale. Here, the energetic character of the beginning returns, along with the complex and driving rhythms. The sustained sounds of the train whistle and ocarina are also incorporated to tie together all the music that has been made thus far. The piece ends with another well-written accelerando gesture in unison culminating in five powerful attacks of arrival.

With the rhythms and sounds created by the cans, bottles, and shakers, segments of this piece sound to be inspired by Cage’s “Third Construction,” only for three players and an abbreviated instrumentation. The third section especially sounds dangerously close to the climactic portions of the Cage piece, replacing the conch shell with the train whistle and ocarina. However, the several unison gestures that Beck created at cadence points and at the finale give this work its own identity, not to mention that the ocarina has a wider range of sounds than the conch shell.

Best suited for mature percussionists who have an ear for the necessary diversity of sounds that Beck is calling for, “Trio” is a challenging addition to the repertoire started by Cage and Harrison. It will challenge the rhythmic accuracy and chamber abilities of the performers, but when properly executed, is an exciting piece to witness and program.

—Kyle Cherwinski
Percussive Notes 
Vol. 58, No. 2, April 2020


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