DystopiaDystopia
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Dystopia

for percussion ensemble
Level: Med-Advanced
Duration: 4:00
Personnel: 15 players
State Lists: Florida | Texas | Indiana
Release Date: 2009
Product ID : TSPCE-34
Price: $50.00
Item #: TSPCE-34

Formats Available:

All sounds used in this recording (except bass groans) were generated from Virtual Drumline software also by Tapspace.


Description

Dystopia was composed by Jim Casella to imitate a tense, action-packed, horror movie soundtrack within the percussion ensemble setting. Using a fairly large instrumentation (including piano), some interesting textures are achieved by way of bowed instruments (waterphone, tam tam, vibraphone) and gutteral, groaning bass drum effects. Frequent use of tight intervals and dissonant melodies add to the tension driven by a syncopated ostinato in 5/4.

Essentially, this is program music designed to take listeners on a journey of their own images. There isn’t a literal story being told here, but its structure takes us from quiet mystery to suspenseful pursuit, then action-based escape. These dramatic elements will allow each performer and listener to choose his or her own adventure by letting the music create a scary story line of its own.

Dystopia was premiered before an enthusiastic audience at the 2008 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, Illinois.

This piece comes with a full, bound score and includes a CD-ROM containing an audio recording and all individual parts available for printing.

Instrumentation

  • Glockenspiel
  • Xylophone
  • Chimes
  • 2 vibraphones (with bows & mallets)
  • 2 marimbas—low A
  • 4 timpani
  • Drums (military drum, snare drum, 4 toms, bass drum)
  • Cymbal(2 suspended cymbals, sizzle cymbal, crash cymbals)
  • Accessories (waterphone or bowed music stand, triangle, 2 cowbells, finger cymbals, temple blocks)
  • Tam tam (with stick, bow, and triangle beater)
  • Piano

Reviews

“Dystopia” requires 15 performers and a large arsenal of instruments including, but not limited to, four timpani, piano, two vibraphones, two marimbas, and a waterphone. The term “dystopia” describes an ominous, bad, imaginary place, and Jim Casella has done an excellent job of painting this picture for the listener.

After a brief introduction of descending tritones, the piece accelerates into an aggressive 5/4 section, grouped into a palindromic 3-2-2-3 ostinato. Tension is maintained in this section through tightly spaced chords and cleverly composed accessory percussion integration.

In the subsequent section, “Creepy,” there is a simultaneous presentation of sixteenth-notes and eighth-note triplets in half-steps by the mallet instruments floating over bowed cymbals, bass drum “growls” with a rubber ball, and the ethereal waterphone. An intense, but brief, allegro section follows with aggressive, hocketed motifs in the percussion sections. The piece concludes as it began, with the descending tritones now presented in augmentation.

“Dystopia” is a well-orchestrated percussion ensemble. Casella has done a masterful job of composing for percussion orchestra, maintaining equality between the accessory percussion and mallet parts. “Dystopia” is appropriate for the advanced high school percussion ensemble and requires multiple-mallet technique from the vibraphone and marimba players.

–Eric Willie
Percussive Notes 
Vol. 48, No. 4, July 2010

Description

Dystopia was composed by Jim Casella to imitate a tense, action-packed, horror movie soundtrack within the percussion ensemble setting. Using a fairly large instrumentation (including piano), some interesting textures are achieved by way of bowed instruments (waterphone, tam tam, vibraphone) and gutteral, groaning bass drum effects. Frequent use of tight intervals and dissonant melodies add to the tension driven by a syncopated ostinato in 5/4.

Essentially, this is program music designed to take listeners on a journey of their own images. There isn’t a literal story being told here, but its structure takes us from quiet mystery to suspenseful pursuit, then action-based escape. These dramatic elements will allow each performer and listener to choose his or her own adventure by letting the music create a scary story line of its own.

Dystopia was premiered before an enthusiastic audience at the 2008 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, Illinois.

This piece comes with a full, bound score and includes a CD-ROM containing an audio recording and all individual parts available for printing.

Instrumentation

  • Glockenspiel
  • Xylophone
  • Chimes
  • 2 vibraphones (with bows & mallets)
  • 2 marimbas—low A
  • 4 timpani
  • Drums (military drum, snare drum, 4 toms, bass drum)
  • Cymbal(2 suspended cymbals, sizzle cymbal, crash cymbals)
  • Accessories (waterphone or bowed music stand, triangle, 2 cowbells, finger cymbals, temple blocks)
  • Tam tam (with stick, bow, and triangle beater)
  • Piano

Reviews

“Dystopia” requires 15 performers and a large arsenal of instruments including, but not limited to, four timpani, piano, two vibraphones, two marimbas, and a waterphone. The term “dystopia” describes an ominous, bad, imaginary place, and Jim Casella has done an excellent job of painting this picture for the listener.

After a brief introduction of descending tritones, the piece accelerates into an aggressive 5/4 section, grouped into a palindromic 3-2-2-3 ostinato. Tension is maintained in this section through tightly spaced chords and cleverly composed accessory percussion integration.

In the subsequent section, “Creepy,” there is a simultaneous presentation of sixteenth-notes and eighth-note triplets in half-steps by the mallet instruments floating over bowed cymbals, bass drum “growls” with a rubber ball, and the ethereal waterphone. An intense, but brief, allegro section follows with aggressive, hocketed motifs in the percussion sections. The piece concludes as it began, with the descending tritones now presented in augmentation.

“Dystopia” is a well-orchestrated percussion ensemble. Casella has done a masterful job of composing for percussion orchestra, maintaining equality between the accessory percussion and mallet parts. “Dystopia” is appropriate for the advanced high school percussion ensemble and requires multiple-mallet technique from the vibraphone and marimba players.

–Eric Willie
Percussive Notes 
Vol. 48, No. 4, July 2010



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