SaṃsāraSaṃsāra
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Saṃsāra

Marimba Quartet No. 1
Level: Advanced
Duration: 9:00
Personnel: 4 players
Release Date: 2020
Product ID : TSPCE20-007
Price: $42.00
Item #: TSPCE20-007

Formats Available:


Description

The musical material in Saṃsāra, a marimba quartet by Tetsuya Takeno, takes its rhythmic influence from jazz guitarist Miles Okazaki’s debut album Mirror and minimalist David Lang’s famous chamber piece cheating, lying, stealing. With these eclectic influences, Tetsuya is able to shift between the repeated rhythmic cells and sections of improvisation to create a diverse collection of groove and musical feels. This piece also runs through a variety of moods which require a tight and cohesive ensemble.

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

Instrumentation

2 marimbas—(1) low F, (1) low C

Reviews

Samsara utilizes the dark resonance of the low end of the marimba in a wonderfully simple way. As the score states, it “features a steady and simple catchy pattern that departs from that symmetry, gradually transforming into complex polyrhythmic ensembles. It ends dramatically, frantically reprising materials from previous sections...because at least one part always keeps a repetitive rhythmic pattern in common time, the music is always polyrhythmic. Each part may appear simple, while ensemble coordination is always challenging.” Takeno certainly accomplishes this goal; the parts are two-mallet and not terribly challenging for a competent player, but they fit together like a puzzle, and if one part is off the whole thing won’t come together.

There is a clear jazz influence in Samsara, which lends itself well to the marimba quartet ensemble. There are almost always long rolled notes happening in at least one of the parts, which fill in the space nicely between the crisp articulation of the other parts. The technique needed for this piece is standard traditional two-mallet playing, with the exception of some notated ghost notes, which emphasize the syncopation of the theme. 

The fact that this marimba quartet can be played on just two marimbas, and that even then it only needs one 5-octave instrument, greatly increases the accessibility of this piece for percussion programs and ensembles that do not have a large mallet instrument inventory. While Samsara does not reinvent the wheel of marimba quartets, it is a lovely and well thought out piece that would be a nice addition to any percussion ensemble concert.

—Marilyn K. Clark Silva 
Percussive Notes 
Vol. 57, No. 3, July 2019

=============================================================================

As a fan of permutations and calculations, I am often hesitantly suspicious of new works that focus compositional aesthetics on mathematic principals, yet Tetsuya Takeno’s first marimba quartet, “Sams?ra,” keeps the focus on melodic and rhythmic development through various pattern transformations, creating an enjoyable nine-minute piece to hear and play. Composed using rhythmic concepts ranging from those of David Lang to University of Michigan’s Miles Okazaki, this piece always seems to find success by creating gratifying, impactful arrival moments.

Takeno’s quartet takes on an exciting, episodic form as it shifts from one idea to another, connected via repeating rhythmic motives and harmonic landing points. After a brief chorale to open the piece and introduce the recurring rolling melody concept, “Sams?ra” takes off using rhythmic motives similar to Nigel Westlake’s “Omphalo Centric Lecture”—including the thirty-second-note figures and odd-meter grooves—which leads directly to big unison hits that serve as structural grounding moments for both the ensemble and listeners. These phrases are followed by motivic diminution and augmentation, leading to additional syncopated unison climaxes. The quartet continues shifting between these ideas, constantly changing to avoid any dull moments or repeating itself too much. The ending is reminiscent of the final moments in Mark Ford’s “Stubernic,” when all players perform in unison swift sixteenth-note runs and accented passages to the end. 

Although utilizing similar timbres throughout, Takeno effectively develops and inter- twines musical material throughout “Sams?ra,” engaging the listener at each turn. Patterns form the basis of composition, with each part fitting uniquely within the ensemble to create a layered, polyrhythmic texture that forces all members to fully understand their own parts as well as the overall structure. I highly recommend this piece for an advanced high school quartet or college-level ensemble for a rewarding experience for audiences and performers. 

—Matthew Geiger
Percussive Notes
Vol. 58, No. 5, October 2020

 

Description

The musical material in Saṃsāra, a marimba quartet by Tetsuya Takeno, takes its rhythmic influence from jazz guitarist Miles Okazaki’s debut album Mirror and minimalist David Lang’s famous chamber piece cheating, lying, stealing. With these eclectic influences, Tetsuya is able to shift between the repeated rhythmic cells and sections of improvisation to create a diverse collection of groove and musical feels. This piece also runs through a variety of moods which require a tight and cohesive ensemble.

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

Instrumentation

2 marimbas—(1) low F, (1) low C

Reviews

Samsara utilizes the dark resonance of the low end of the marimba in a wonderfully simple way. As the score states, it “features a steady and simple catchy pattern that departs from that symmetry, gradually transforming into complex polyrhythmic ensembles. It ends dramatically, frantically reprising materials from previous sections...because at least one part always keeps a repetitive rhythmic pattern in common time, the music is always polyrhythmic. Each part may appear simple, while ensemble coordination is always challenging.” Takeno certainly accomplishes this goal; the parts are two-mallet and not terribly challenging for a competent player, but they fit together like a puzzle, and if one part is off the whole thing won’t come together.

There is a clear jazz influence in Samsara, which lends itself well to the marimba quartet ensemble. There are almost always long rolled notes happening in at least one of the parts, which fill in the space nicely between the crisp articulation of the other parts. The technique needed for this piece is standard traditional two-mallet playing, with the exception of some notated ghost notes, which emphasize the syncopation of the theme. 

The fact that this marimba quartet can be played on just two marimbas, and that even then it only needs one 5-octave instrument, greatly increases the accessibility of this piece for percussion programs and ensembles that do not have a large mallet instrument inventory. While Samsara does not reinvent the wheel of marimba quartets, it is a lovely and well thought out piece that would be a nice addition to any percussion ensemble concert.

—Marilyn K. Clark Silva 
Percussive Notes 
Vol. 57, No. 3, July 2019

=============================================================================

As a fan of permutations and calculations, I am often hesitantly suspicious of new works that focus compositional aesthetics on mathematic principals, yet Tetsuya Takeno’s first marimba quartet, “Sams?ra,” keeps the focus on melodic and rhythmic development through various pattern transformations, creating an enjoyable nine-minute piece to hear and play. Composed using rhythmic concepts ranging from those of David Lang to University of Michigan’s Miles Okazaki, this piece always seems to find success by creating gratifying, impactful arrival moments.

Takeno’s quartet takes on an exciting, episodic form as it shifts from one idea to another, connected via repeating rhythmic motives and harmonic landing points. After a brief chorale to open the piece and introduce the recurring rolling melody concept, “Sams?ra” takes off using rhythmic motives similar to Nigel Westlake’s “Omphalo Centric Lecture”—including the thirty-second-note figures and odd-meter grooves—which leads directly to big unison hits that serve as structural grounding moments for both the ensemble and listeners. These phrases are followed by motivic diminution and augmentation, leading to additional syncopated unison climaxes. The quartet continues shifting between these ideas, constantly changing to avoid any dull moments or repeating itself too much. The ending is reminiscent of the final moments in Mark Ford’s “Stubernic,” when all players perform in unison swift sixteenth-note runs and accented passages to the end. 

Although utilizing similar timbres throughout, Takeno effectively develops and inter- twines musical material throughout “Sams?ra,” engaging the listener at each turn. Patterns form the basis of composition, with each part fitting uniquely within the ensemble to create a layered, polyrhythmic texture that forces all members to fully understand their own parts as well as the overall structure. I highly recommend this piece for an advanced high school quartet or college-level ensemble for a rewarding experience for audiences and performers. 

—Matthew Geiger
Percussive Notes
Vol. 58, No. 5, October 2020

 



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