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composition / orchestra / concerto for vibraphone & orchestra

concerto for vibraphone and orchestra

Medium: Solo Vibraphone with Full Orchestra
Publisher: C. Alan Publications
Composed: 2012
Duration: 15:00
Difficulty: Medium Difficult
Other Versions: Piano Reduction, Percussion Ensemble, Wind Ensemble 

Instrumentation:

Solo Vibraphone (3-octave)

Piccolo
Flute 1 & 2
Oboe 1 & 2
B-flat Clarinet 1 & 2
Bassoon 1 & 2
C Trumpet 1, 2, & 3
F Horn 1 & 2
F Horn 3 & 4
Trombone 1 & 2
Tuba

Timpani

Percussion 1
bells, crotales

Percussion 2
vibraphone, chimes

Percussion 3
chimes, xylophone

Percussion 4 & 5
tambourine, bell tree, mark tree, sizzle cymbal, suspended cymbal, bass drum tam-tam, rain stick, snare drum, egg shakers 

Violin I
Violin II
Viola
Cello
Bass 

look inside

Concerto for Vibraphone and Percussion Ensemble Score

notes

Originally commissioned by Dr. Lisa Rogers (percussion professor at Texas Tech University), the first movement of the Concerto for Vibraphone and Percussion Ensemble received its premiere in November 2009 at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) in Indianapolis by Lisa Rogers and the Brazoswood High School Percussion Ensemble, directed by Eric Harper. The work has been completely re-scored for full orchestra.

One of my favorite sources of inspiration for my compositions is poetry – especially that of Pablo Neruda. It's so passionate and filled with vivid imagery that it's just a blast to try and portray his words with music. I knew from the outset that Lisa Rogers (the commissioning party) wanted a 2-movement concerto, so I decided to try and find two poems with opposing themes and stumbled upon Neruda's collection "Ode to Opposites." I chose "Ode to Nighttime" and "Ode to Enchanted Light" which pit night against day.

Ode to Nighttime by Pablo Neruda
(I. Night’s Song – “El Canto de la Noche”)

Behind
daylight,
behind every tree and rock,
behind every book,
night,
you rush around working
or you rest,
waiting
for your retracted roots
to grow into foliage or flower.
You thrash around the sky
like
a flag,
you pour yourself into
sierras and seas
and the smallest cavities, too:
the exhausted peasant’s hardened
eyes
and the black coral
of people’s mouths
opened wide in sleep.
You run wild
over the savage flow
of rivers,
you penetrate, night, hidden paths
and love’s deep constellations—
tangle of naked bodies—
and crimes that splatter
the shadows with screams.
All the while trains
stay on schedule, stokers
feed night-black coal to red fire.
The overworked accountant
wanders deep in a forest
of petrified papers,
and bakers knead
mounds of whiteness.
Night also sleeps
like a blind horse.
It’s raining all over the country:
on the huge trees
of my homeland
and on roofs
of corrugated metal
night’s song
is heard.
Rain and darkness are the blade
of a singing sword
while stars, or jasmine petals,
gaze
from blackened heights:
they are signs
that, little by little,
with time’s slow passage,
we will come to understand.

Nighttime,
my nighttime,
night of the whole earth,
you bear something
within you, something round
like a child
about to be born, like a
bursting
seed:
it’s a miracle,
it’s daylight.
Your beauty is all the greater
because you nourish this budding poppy
with the darkness that flows in your veins,
because you work with your eyes closed
so that other eyes may open
and the water may sing,
so that our lives
might be born again.

For the first movement, Night’s Song, I tried to depict this mysterious, starry night that gradually turns dark and rainy. The phrases that really spoke to me and shaped the music were “behind daylight,” “you thrash around the sky,” “you run wild over the savage flow of rivers,” and rain and darkness are the blade of a singing sword while stars, or jasmine petals, gaze from blackened heights.” I love how Neruda describes daylight as being born nighttime, so I decided to make the movements attacca so that the second movement, Enchanted Light, bursts forth out of the first movement.

Ode to Enchanted Light by Pablo Neruda
(II. Enchanted Light – “La Luz Encantada”)

Under the trees light
has dropped from the top of the sky,
light
like a green
latticework of branches,
shining
on every leaf,
drifting down like clean
white sand.
A cicada sends its sawing song
high into the empty air.
The world is
a glass overflowing
with water.

The second movement is much more sparkly and bright, depicting the “light dropping from the top of the sky.” The “cicada sending its sawing song high into the empty air” even makes an appearance with the help of a sizzle cymbal. Motives and themes from the first movement return in several spots throughout the second movement helping to unify the work. The soloist gets a workout as well in the tour-de-force second movement, unlike the much more introspective first movement.