Stars Began to Burn, TheStars Began to Burn, The
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Stars Began to Burn, The

for percussion ensemble and piano
Level: Medium
Duration: 5:30
Personnel: 13 players
State Lists: Florida
Release Date: 2023
Product ID : TSPCE23-003
Price: $45.00
Item #: TSPCE23-003

Formats Available:


Description

The Stars Began to Burn by Matthew Gillot was written during the spring/summer of 2021 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The title of the piece was taken from a line in Mary Oliver’s poem “The Journey.” Gillott’s intent for the piece was to capture the emotional experience he felt while reading the poem which he described as “the ecstatic rush of replacing habitual self-doubt with self-confidence.”

The Stars Began to Burn is a delightful percussion ensemble work that takes students through various time signatures and metric pulses, techniques, and keys and is accessible to a wide range of playing abilities. It begins with a duple feel before moving into a 12/8 triplet pulse for the majority of the work. This is a great opportunity to enhance students’ confidence with 12/8 time signatures.

The Stars Began to Burn ships as a printed, professionally bound score and includes individual parts in PDF format for printing or tablet viewing.

Instrumentation

Crotales (2 octaves)

Glockenspiel

Chimes

2 vibraphones

3 marimbas — (2) 4-octave, (1) 5-octave

Xylophone

Piano

Drums — bongos, concert bass drum, concert snare drum, 4 concert toms, 2 congas, djembe, 2 impact drums, field drum

Cymbals & gongs — hi-hat, ride cymbal, sizzle cymbal, 4 suspended cymbals, tam-tam

Accessories — bell tree, cabasa, claves, egg shaker, mark tree, rainstick, tambourine

Reviews

This is an energetic and effervescent composition for percussion ensemble. Written for 13 players (12 percussionists and a pianist), the piece was inspired by Mary Oliver’s poem “The Journey” and its message of overcoming self-doubt to gain confidence in one’s own identity. From the ominous tolling of the chimes at the beginning to the delicate and peaceful final chords of the metallophones, Matthew Gillott paints a musical picture of a journey of self-discovery.

The texture at the beginning of the piece is thin but humming with the intensity that something bigger is coming. The low chime hits on beats 2 and 4 create a funereal mood, and the churning sixteenth notes in the marimbas add to the sense of foreboding. This energy soon explodes with the introduction of hand drums, the bongos and congas and djembe thrumming beneath the melodic material. These rhythmic interjections soon take a more prevalent role as the piece moves in compound meter, with cymbals and hi-hat adding to the hand drums, creating a sort of hybrid drum set accompaniment to the melodic material.

The middle section enters a more ethereal soundscape, with soft textures painted by the rainstick, Mark Tree, and snare drum with brushes. This section transforms from a more intense, driving atmosphere to a softer texture, building slowly to the climax. With the fanfare gestures in the chimes, the insistently driving hi-hat pulse, and emphatic repetitive gestures in the mallets, the piece churns energetically to a climactic tam tam hit. The piece settles after the climax, with 6–5 suspensions in the vibraphones helping create a sense of resolution as described in the program notes. The twinkling lines in the glockenspiel and crotales are evocative of the sparkling stars in the night sky, creating the sensation that the journey of self-realization has been completed.

When programming this piece, directors shouldn’t be deterred by the inclusion of a piano; the piano part is simple enough to be played by a percussionist with basic piano skills. There are no intervals over an octave; the part consists primarily of block chords, octaves, and the occasional arpeggiated figure. As with the percussion parts, the rhythms are not too complicated and should be feasible for an intermediate player.

This piece would be excellently suited for an advanced high school or early collegiate percussion ensemble. The piece is feasible without a conductor (though the occasional fermata would require some group cues and chamber skills). Pedagogically, it’s an easy way to introduce students to quarter-note triplets. Gillott weaves them into a texture of eighth-note triplets and into compound meter sections, thus creating multiple frames of reference for the rhythm. The main obstacle for high schools would likely be the number of players and the availability of instruments.

—Hannah Weaver
Percussive Notes
Vol. 61, No. 3, June 2023

Description

The Stars Began to Burn by Matthew Gillot was written during the spring/summer of 2021 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The title of the piece was taken from a line in Mary Oliver’s poem “The Journey.” Gillott’s intent for the piece was to capture the emotional experience he felt while reading the poem which he described as “the ecstatic rush of replacing habitual self-doubt with self-confidence.”

The Stars Began to Burn is a delightful percussion ensemble work that takes students through various time signatures and metric pulses, techniques, and keys and is accessible to a wide range of playing abilities. It begins with a duple feel before moving into a 12/8 triplet pulse for the majority of the work. This is a great opportunity to enhance students’ confidence with 12/8 time signatures.

The Stars Began to Burn ships as a printed, professionally bound score and includes individual parts in PDF format for printing or tablet viewing.

Instrumentation

Crotales (2 octaves)

Glockenspiel

Chimes

2 vibraphones

3 marimbas — (2) 4-octave, (1) 5-octave

Xylophone

Piano

Drums — bongos, concert bass drum, concert snare drum, 4 concert toms, 2 congas, djembe, 2 impact drums, field drum

Cymbals & gongs — hi-hat, ride cymbal, sizzle cymbal, 4 suspended cymbals, tam-tam

Accessories — bell tree, cabasa, claves, egg shaker, mark tree, rainstick, tambourine

Reviews

This is an energetic and effervescent composition for percussion ensemble. Written for 13 players (12 percussionists and a pianist), the piece was inspired by Mary Oliver’s poem “The Journey” and its message of overcoming self-doubt to gain confidence in one’s own identity. From the ominous tolling of the chimes at the beginning to the delicate and peaceful final chords of the metallophones, Matthew Gillott paints a musical picture of a journey of self-discovery.

The texture at the beginning of the piece is thin but humming with the intensity that something bigger is coming. The low chime hits on beats 2 and 4 create a funereal mood, and the churning sixteenth notes in the marimbas add to the sense of foreboding. This energy soon explodes with the introduction of hand drums, the bongos and congas and djembe thrumming beneath the melodic material. These rhythmic interjections soon take a more prevalent role as the piece moves in compound meter, with cymbals and hi-hat adding to the hand drums, creating a sort of hybrid drum set accompaniment to the melodic material.

The middle section enters a more ethereal soundscape, with soft textures painted by the rainstick, Mark Tree, and snare drum with brushes. This section transforms from a more intense, driving atmosphere to a softer texture, building slowly to the climax. With the fanfare gestures in the chimes, the insistently driving hi-hat pulse, and emphatic repetitive gestures in the mallets, the piece churns energetically to a climactic tam tam hit. The piece settles after the climax, with 6–5 suspensions in the vibraphones helping create a sense of resolution as described in the program notes. The twinkling lines in the glockenspiel and crotales are evocative of the sparkling stars in the night sky, creating the sensation that the journey of self-realization has been completed.

When programming this piece, directors shouldn’t be deterred by the inclusion of a piano; the piano part is simple enough to be played by a percussionist with basic piano skills. There are no intervals over an octave; the part consists primarily of block chords, octaves, and the occasional arpeggiated figure. As with the percussion parts, the rhythms are not too complicated and should be feasible for an intermediate player.

This piece would be excellently suited for an advanced high school or early collegiate percussion ensemble. The piece is feasible without a conductor (though the occasional fermata would require some group cues and chamber skills). Pedagogically, it’s an easy way to introduce students to quarter-note triplets. Gillott weaves them into a texture of eighth-note triplets and into compound meter sections, thus creating multiple frames of reference for the rhythm. The main obstacle for high schools would likely be the number of players and the availability of instruments.

—Hannah Weaver
Percussive Notes
Vol. 61, No. 3, June 2023


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