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Nataraja

The Lord of Dance
Level: Med-Advanced
Duration: 5:00
Personnel: 4 players
State Lists: Missouri
Release Date: 2020
Product ID : TSPCE20-008
Price: $38.00
Item #: TSPCE20-008

Formats Available:


Description

Nataraja, by Tetsuya Takeno, was originally written as a marimba solo with a conga player and was originally entitled Arabian Dances. In the form presented here, Takeno employs four individual players on an expanded instrumentation: two marimbas, a vibraphone, bongos and a kick drum, to musically depict the dancing form of the Hindu god, Shiva. The musical material twists and turns through a variety of tempi, meters, rhythmic motives, and bases its melodic material on Indian and Middle Eastern inspired scales. The music also depicts a variety of moods, which will certainly draw the crowd in at any performance.

This piece comes as a professionally printed and bound score and includes individual parts in PDF format for printing or for tablet viewing.

Instrumentation

2 marimbas— (2) low C

Vibraphone

Drums (2 bongos, kick drum)

Reviews

The diversity of percussion often leads to pieces that are inspired by music from other cultures, such as this new work by Tetsuya Takeno. “Nataraja” is a reconceptualization of a duo for marimba and conga, also by Takeno, titled “Arabian Nights.” Slightly longer than its predecessor, “Nataraja” is a five-minute work for four percussionists using a shared setup that includes marimbas, vibraphone, bongos, and a kick drum. 

The work is technically approachable, featuring mostly two-mallet playing, with one part presenting the performer with intermediate four-mallet passage work. To this end, “Nataraja” is full of exciting thematic grooves that take off at a quick pace immediately following its opening ethereal chorale. These dance-like grooves are repetitive and a clear nod to the piece’s namesake, the Hindu god Shiva when in the form of “Lord of the Dance.” 

Harmonically, the work is, “inspired by Indian and Middle Eastern scales” presented in their closest western form known as the double harmonic major scale, or forte number 7–22. This symmetrical scale allows the piece to float and play with the listeners’ sense of tonality as it quickly oscillates back and forth between major- and minor-like presentations of the theme. Rhythmically, Takeno incorporates frequent syncopated rhythms using the timbre of the bongos and frame of the vibraphone to add color and noise against a static ostinato in the kick drum. While Takeno’s use of a chameleon pitch collection and lilting rhythms are vaguely reminiscent of the Hindustani Bhairav raga and traditional Indian music, its consistent use of syncopated unison hits and tag-like ending are more suggestive of an indoor percussion feature. 

While not always a fan of copious program notes, I would have liked to have seen the composer explain more about the background of the piece and its inspiration. I believe this simple act would pique the curiosity of younger performers who may not otherwise encounter the music-culture from which this piece benefits. The catchy nature of the piece should appeal to advanced high school and undergraduate percussionists looking for an exciting piece to program on a chamber recital or percussion ensemble concert. 

—Quintin Mallette
Percussive Notes
Vol. 58, No. 6, December 2020

Description

Nataraja, by Tetsuya Takeno, was originally written as a marimba solo with a conga player and was originally entitled Arabian Dances. In the form presented here, Takeno employs four individual players on an expanded instrumentation: two marimbas, a vibraphone, bongos and a kick drum, to musically depict the dancing form of the Hindu god, Shiva. The musical material twists and turns through a variety of tempi, meters, rhythmic motives, and bases its melodic material on Indian and Middle Eastern inspired scales. The music also depicts a variety of moods, which will certainly draw the crowd in at any performance.

This piece comes as a professionally printed and bound score and includes individual parts in PDF format for printing or for tablet viewing.

Instrumentation

2 marimbas— (2) low C

Vibraphone

Drums (2 bongos, kick drum)

Reviews

The diversity of percussion often leads to pieces that are inspired by music from other cultures, such as this new work by Tetsuya Takeno. “Nataraja” is a reconceptualization of a duo for marimba and conga, also by Takeno, titled “Arabian Nights.” Slightly longer than its predecessor, “Nataraja” is a five-minute work for four percussionists using a shared setup that includes marimbas, vibraphone, bongos, and a kick drum. 

The work is technically approachable, featuring mostly two-mallet playing, with one part presenting the performer with intermediate four-mallet passage work. To this end, “Nataraja” is full of exciting thematic grooves that take off at a quick pace immediately following its opening ethereal chorale. These dance-like grooves are repetitive and a clear nod to the piece’s namesake, the Hindu god Shiva when in the form of “Lord of the Dance.” 

Harmonically, the work is, “inspired by Indian and Middle Eastern scales” presented in their closest western form known as the double harmonic major scale, or forte number 7–22. This symmetrical scale allows the piece to float and play with the listeners’ sense of tonality as it quickly oscillates back and forth between major- and minor-like presentations of the theme. Rhythmically, Takeno incorporates frequent syncopated rhythms using the timbre of the bongos and frame of the vibraphone to add color and noise against a static ostinato in the kick drum. While Takeno’s use of a chameleon pitch collection and lilting rhythms are vaguely reminiscent of the Hindustani Bhairav raga and traditional Indian music, its consistent use of syncopated unison hits and tag-like ending are more suggestive of an indoor percussion feature. 

While not always a fan of copious program notes, I would have liked to have seen the composer explain more about the background of the piece and its inspiration. I believe this simple act would pique the curiosity of younger performers who may not otherwise encounter the music-culture from which this piece benefits. The catchy nature of the piece should appeal to advanced high school and undergraduate percussionists looking for an exciting piece to program on a chamber recital or percussion ensemble concert. 

—Quintin Mallette
Percussive Notes
Vol. 58, No. 6, December 2020



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