Three Pieces for MarimbaThree Pieces for Marimba
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Three Pieces for Marimba

Level: Advanced
Duration: 7:30
State Lists: Florida
Release Date: 2019
Product ID : TSPCS19-014
Price: $16.00
Item #: TSPCS19-014

Formats Available:


Description

Brian Blume’s Three Pieces for Marimba began as an exercise in improvisation. It then grew into three through-composed works, each with a wide range of techniques and characteristics which highlight the unique versatility of the instrument when executed by a sensitive performer.

The musical material of this challenging marimba solo was influenced by such renowned composers as J.S. Bach, Arnold Schoenberg, Anton Webern, and Béla Bartók. Each movement was intended to be performed in succession but may be performed separately as single movements or in pairs. Though each movement is clearly singular and unique, the discerning listener will perceive motives and variations of these motives throughout all three pieces.


Three Pieces for Marimba ships in a printed, professionally bound folio with a full color cover.

Instrumentation

5-octave marimba (low C)

Reviews

This advanced work for solo marimba, lasting around eight minutes, was born from improvisation. The work can be played in its entirety or with movements excerpted individually or in pairs. 

The first movement exhibits the improvisatory foundation most clearly, as the composer’s use of rhythm, register, technique, and dynamics borders on sporadic (though not incoherent). A variety of colors are utilized throughout, from punctuated bursts of energy to smooth linear swirls. Blume’s use of articulation markings will help guide performers as they learn the piece.

The second movement is the star of the work. Requiring the utmost control from the performer, the bubbling rumble underpinning the movement is a fascinating aesthetic. The single swift chromatic gesture in the bottom octave that begins the piece serves as a driving force as additional elements are incorporated. This movement serves as a single arc of ever-increasing intensity, volume, and activity, which then recedes over the course of the second half. The composer has expertly paced the arrival of each new element or addition, and the performer’s task is to maintain that balance amidst the marimba gymnastics. 

Rounding out the work, the last movement is quite short (though not necessarily sweet). At a swift tempo of 176 beats per minute, it is darkly energetic, dancing across the keys with a lopsided, sardonic gait. There is a darkly humorous quality to this movement, like a twisted music box being cranked to its maximum speed.

Overall, “Three Pieces for Marimba” is a satisfying musical experience. If there is one com- plaint, it is that the outer movements (particularly the last movement) could be a little longer. At the same time, it is always better to keep the audience wanting more than to overstay one’s welcome. Individual movements (particularly the third) could find their home as an encore or as a short and impressive instrument demonstration. Technical mastery of the instrument is required to perform this piece well, but more importantly, a mature musical understanding of the intended character of each movement will be required to bring this work to life.

—Jamie Whitmarsh
Percussive Notes
Vol. 58, No. 1, February 2020

Description

Brian Blume’s Three Pieces for Marimba began as an exercise in improvisation. It then grew into three through-composed works, each with a wide range of techniques and characteristics which highlight the unique versatility of the instrument when executed by a sensitive performer.

The musical material of this challenging marimba solo was influenced by such renowned composers as J.S. Bach, Arnold Schoenberg, Anton Webern, and Béla Bartók. Each movement was intended to be performed in succession but may be performed separately as single movements or in pairs. Though each movement is clearly singular and unique, the discerning listener will perceive motives and variations of these motives throughout all three pieces.


Three Pieces for Marimba ships in a printed, professionally bound folio with a full color cover.

Instrumentation

5-octave marimba (low C)

Reviews

This advanced work for solo marimba, lasting around eight minutes, was born from improvisation. The work can be played in its entirety or with movements excerpted individually or in pairs. 

The first movement exhibits the improvisatory foundation most clearly, as the composer’s use of rhythm, register, technique, and dynamics borders on sporadic (though not incoherent). A variety of colors are utilized throughout, from punctuated bursts of energy to smooth linear swirls. Blume’s use of articulation markings will help guide performers as they learn the piece.

The second movement is the star of the work. Requiring the utmost control from the performer, the bubbling rumble underpinning the movement is a fascinating aesthetic. The single swift chromatic gesture in the bottom octave that begins the piece serves as a driving force as additional elements are incorporated. This movement serves as a single arc of ever-increasing intensity, volume, and activity, which then recedes over the course of the second half. The composer has expertly paced the arrival of each new element or addition, and the performer’s task is to maintain that balance amidst the marimba gymnastics. 

Rounding out the work, the last movement is quite short (though not necessarily sweet). At a swift tempo of 176 beats per minute, it is darkly energetic, dancing across the keys with a lopsided, sardonic gait. There is a darkly humorous quality to this movement, like a twisted music box being cranked to its maximum speed.

Overall, “Three Pieces for Marimba” is a satisfying musical experience. If there is one com- plaint, it is that the outer movements (particularly the last movement) could be a little longer. At the same time, it is always better to keep the audience wanting more than to overstay one’s welcome. Individual movements (particularly the third) could find their home as an encore or as a short and impressive instrument demonstration. Technical mastery of the instrument is required to perform this piece well, but more importantly, a mature musical understanding of the intended character of each movement will be required to bring this work to life.

—Jamie Whitmarsh
Percussive Notes
Vol. 58, No. 1, February 2020



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