Feb. 19th concert honors the birthdays of two composers of significant pieces for percussion
The ensemble, directed by the acclaimed percussionist and Yale faculty member Robert van Sice, has been hailed as “truly extraordinary” by composer Steve Reich. Now the YPG returns the compliment by dedicating the first half of this concert to Reich’s music.
The concert opens with Reich’s Mallet Quartet (2009), for two marimbas and two vibraphones. A highlight will be Reich’s Electric Counterpoint, in a new arrangement for vibraphone, marimba, and tape. Svetoslav Stoyanov, a YSM alum, created the arrangement and is the player heard on the pre-recorded segments.
The first half will conclude with Reich’s Music for Mallet Instruments, Voices and Organ, a 1973 composition for glockenspiels, marimbas, metallophone, women’s voices, and organ. Reich, who turns 75 this year, describes the piece as “deal[ing] with two simultaneous interrelated rhythmic processes.”
The second half of the concert is devoted to the music of John Cage, who was born 100 years ago this year and died in 1992. His Third Construction, written in 1941, is for four percussionists who play a vast variety of Western and international instruments as well as ordinary items like tin cans and a conch shell. Other Cage pieces on the program include In a Landscape (1948), originally written for piano, and Amores (1943), for piano and three percussionists.
She Is Asleep is a piece in two parts; in Part I, four percussionists play twelve tom-toms, and Part II is for voice and prepared piano (“prepared” meaning that objects have been deliberately placed in the instrument to alter the sound). Child of Tree (1975) is inspired by the sound of cactus spines being plucked; in the score, Cage instructs the performer in a structured improviation on ten instruments made of plants. “This improvisation is the performance,” Cage wrote. MORE