Sonata for SusanSonata for Susan
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Sonata for Susan

for solo xylophone or marimba
Level: Med-Advanced
Duration: 8:00
Release Date: 2021
Product ID : TSPCS21-003
Price: $17.00
Item #: TSPCS21-003

Formats Available:


Description

Sonata for Susan by Zach Koors was composed in December of 2015 as a gift for his undergraduate professor, Susan Powell. Since Susan has specialized in xylophone ragtime throughout her career, Koors incorporated some ideas from this venerable tradition into the piece. The most notable is the use of the “trick rhythm,” famously developed and utilized by George Hamilton Green. The “trick rhythm” is a three-note sticking pattern that creates a hemiola effect rhythmically, while also producing a complex-sounding array of melodic motifs with just two mallets. Zach uses this brilliantly throughout his piece and has produced a uniquely endearing and heartfelt piece for an instrument that is frequently used for comedic or colorful effect.

Although Sonata for Susan was originally composed for a 4-octave xylophone, if one isn’t available, it can be just as effectively performed on a 4-octave marimba.

This pieces ships in a printed, professionally bound folio with a full color cover.

PERFORMED ON XYLOPHONE



PERFORMED ON MARIMBA

Instrumentation

4-octave xylophone or marimba

Reviews

“Sonata for Susan” was composed as a Secret Santa gift-exchange present for Susan Powell by then-student Zach Koors. “Powell has specialized in ragtime xylophone throughout her career, and therefore I incorporated some ideas from this tradition into the work,” explains Koors. The most prominent of these is the three-note “trick rhythm” used frequently by George Hamilton Green.

The piece is written for 4-octave xylophone, but the composer explains that it can be performed on a marimba if a 4-octave xylophone is not available. The piece begins with a free, rubato section that introduces some of the melodic and rhythmic ideas to be presented later. This leads into an “in time” section that makes up most of the work.

When you think of ragtime, you may think blazing fast, but the tempo here is moderate. These trick rhythms, accents, and licks feel more reflective and reverent than burning hot. Ever-changing time signatures give the music an off-balance feel, yet the groove has a layer of complexity that is quite nice as a result.

I was excited to see and hear this piece, as I am also a former Ohio State student of Susan Powell and can hear not only the ragtime style, but “her” ragtime style in this piece. It would make a great addition to any recital program. The incorporation of ragtime style into a more modern style that bridges the gap between pop and classical sound is very accessible. Great work, Zach!

—Justin Bunting
Percussive Notes
Vol. 60, No. 2, April 2022

Description

Sonata for Susan by Zach Koors was composed in December of 2015 as a gift for his undergraduate professor, Susan Powell. Since Susan has specialized in xylophone ragtime throughout her career, Koors incorporated some ideas from this venerable tradition into the piece. The most notable is the use of the “trick rhythm,” famously developed and utilized by George Hamilton Green. The “trick rhythm” is a three-note sticking pattern that creates a hemiola effect rhythmically, while also producing a complex-sounding array of melodic motifs with just two mallets. Zach uses this brilliantly throughout his piece and has produced a uniquely endearing and heartfelt piece for an instrument that is frequently used for comedic or colorful effect.

Although Sonata for Susan was originally composed for a 4-octave xylophone, if one isn’t available, it can be just as effectively performed on a 4-octave marimba.

This pieces ships in a printed, professionally bound folio with a full color cover.

PERFORMED ON XYLOPHONE



PERFORMED ON MARIMBA

Instrumentation

4-octave xylophone or marimba

Reviews

“Sonata for Susan” was composed as a Secret Santa gift-exchange present for Susan Powell by then-student Zach Koors. “Powell has specialized in ragtime xylophone throughout her career, and therefore I incorporated some ideas from this tradition into the work,” explains Koors. The most prominent of these is the three-note “trick rhythm” used frequently by George Hamilton Green.

The piece is written for 4-octave xylophone, but the composer explains that it can be performed on a marimba if a 4-octave xylophone is not available. The piece begins with a free, rubato section that introduces some of the melodic and rhythmic ideas to be presented later. This leads into an “in time” section that makes up most of the work.

When you think of ragtime, you may think blazing fast, but the tempo here is moderate. These trick rhythms, accents, and licks feel more reflective and reverent than burning hot. Ever-changing time signatures give the music an off-balance feel, yet the groove has a layer of complexity that is quite nice as a result.

I was excited to see and hear this piece, as I am also a former Ohio State student of Susan Powell and can hear not only the ragtime style, but “her” ragtime style in this piece. It would make a great addition to any recital program. The incorporation of ragtime style into a more modern style that bridges the gap between pop and classical sound is very accessible. Great work, Zach!

—Justin Bunting
Percussive Notes
Vol. 60, No. 2, April 2022


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