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Stratocumulus

Composer: Ludwig Albert

Instrument: Marimba Duo

Level: Advanced

Published: 2012

Price: €35.00


Item details

  • Description +
    • Duration: 8 min.

      When warm, moist air is mixed with drier, cooler air and the mixture is moving beneath warmer, lighter air above, clouds will often form as rolls or waves. Sometimes, especially in summer, there are gaps through which the Sun can shine. This cloud is called stratocumulus, meaning sheets of lumpy cloud. Stratocumulus is grey, white, or a mixture of both, usually with some darker patches. It is a low-level cloud that can look threatening, but unless it is very thick usually only drizzle or light precipitation fall from it. It can also form in air forced to rise over hills. Although stratocumulus is not usually a bad weather cloud, its presence may indicate that worse weather is on its way, or is just clearing. This work, reflecting the beautiful spiritual scenery of a stratocumulus, is a musical challenge reaching a combination of technical virtuosity with powerful sonority. (This work was premièred by Axoum duo at the Universal Marimba Festival – Belgium).

  • Instrumentation +
    • Two Marimbas

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  • About the composer +
    • Internationally highly acclaimed as a virtuoso and devoted pedagogue, Ludwig Albert belongs throughout the world as Belgian leading marimbist with the absolute topflight and is profiled as one of the most successful marimbists of his generation. Showered with several tittles, he recorded 8 label albums with mainly own compositions, improvisations, dedicated works and a selection of masterworks. 

      He’s founder and artistic director of the prestigious Universal Marimba Competition & Festival (www.marimbacompetition.com), the Ludwig Albert int. Marimba Academy, the Flanders Marimba Ensemble & the Belgian Percussiondays. He’s related as titular Professor Marimba at the Royal Conservatory Antwerp and the Lemmens Institute Leuven. He created and founded with the aid of the Royal Conservatory Antwerp a marimba department offering Europe’s first official marimba master degree. Helping to drive this program is the Ludwig Albert pioneering Movement Method designed to reach an ultimate sound and musicality. After appearing over a decade as Yamaha artist, he signed up in 2011 as endorser with Adams Company who presents the Ludwig Albert signature artist marimba, an honour for the first time presented to a European marimbist. Ludwig Albert appears throughout the world for concerts &  master classes at significant festivals, universities, competitions and events. His signature mallet line is produced by Innovative Percussion USA. For his celebration of 20 years career he will release 4 new  label albums in 2012-2013 and will perform a concerttour abroad in Russia, China, Portugal, Belgium, USA, Thailand, Korea, Spain, Lithuania, Kroatia....including the worldpremière of new concerto's. Well-known as one of the rare outstanding lyrical performers, he’s honoured with several awards such as the percussion award of honour 2001 and is praised by Int. press-reviews.

  • Reviews +
    • Review (Percussive Notes, May 2014)

      Composed as the repertory piece for the Universal Marimba Competition in 2013, Ludwig Albert describes his work as a “musical challenge reaching a combination of technical virtuosity with powerful sonority.” With each performer continually traversing the full range of a 5.0-octave marimba, encountering time signatures ranging from common time to 27/16, and realizing an extremely wide rhythmic palette, “Stratocumulus” successfully challenges performer and audience in this reflection of a complex cloud structure.

      No key signature is indicated in the score, but the opening major seventh is an effective precursor for the dissonance and chromaticism present in much of this duet, climaxing with minor seconds on opposite ends of the marimba at the end of the piece. Much of the movement between the two parts is contrary, exploiting both extremes of the instrument range consistently. Although a few of the rhythmic combinations will be challenging to execute, much of the writing features unison or complementary rhythmic figures that will be very accessible in the rehearsal process. “Stratocumulus” opens and concludes at an Allegro tempo, but this pulse is interrupted occasionally for brief rubato statements, and the middle of the work features a much more rhythmically sparse chorale passage.

      Obviously intended for two virtuosic performers, Albert’s work is a beautifully sophisticated and complex duet that effectively exploits the marimba’s range, rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic possibilities.

      —Josh Gottry

  • Credits +
    • Front Cover graphics and layout: Ronni Kot Wenzell
      Engraving: Ludwig Albert
      Printed in Copenhagen, Denmark
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