Composer: Søren Monrad
Instrument: Percussion Duo
Duration: 15 min.
WILDFIRE is a new version of a previous work by Monrad called ZAVANNA for six percussionists, now reduced for two players.
WILDFIRE describes a journey through the percussion instruments’ multiple sound possibilities which takes the listener to the great African Savannah from early morning when the wildlife slowly awakens to a roaring wildfire which fuels their stampede. Then the merciful rain puts out the fire. The piece captures the struggle between beauty and cruelty.
Vibraphone (without motor)
2 Cymbals8 Crotales
About the composer +
Søren Monrad was classically trained at the Royal Danish Conservatory of Music. In 1978 he became a percussionist with the Royal Danish Orchestra and in 1982 he won the chair as solo timpanist in the same orchestra. At the same time, he also held down jobs with the Collegium Musicum, Royal Danish Brass and others. Add to that a comprehensive international career as a solo percussionist, playing with among others the Royal Danish Orchestra and the Odense Symphony Orchestra.
He has also performed on several CD’s with the above mentioned ensembles on which composers such as Bartok, Crumb, Varese, Koppel and others are represented. Since 1985 he has been a lecturer at the Carl Nielsen Academy of Music in Odense, Denmark.
Review (Percussive Notes, May (59) 2012)
Have you and a friend ever been tempted to pull out all of your school’s percussion equipment late at night and undertake a larger-than-life piece? If so, then this duet for multiple percussion is for you. Fifteen minutes in length and requiring over a dozen instruments for each performer, “Wildfire” travels through various styles and moods, which could easily be viewed as a single-movement “concert within a concert.”
The piece opens with an extremely slow tempo, featuring ominous sustained sounds with interjections of quick polyrhythmic material between the performers. The polyphony becomes denser and denser, finally arriving at a new section featuring symmetrical “groove” rhythms. Within this section, single and two-measure statements are repeated multiple times, invoking a minimalistic quality. This is interrupted by keyboard percussion instruments (vibraphone and marimba), before returning to membranophones once again. The rhythmic density drives to a fever pitch before eventually retreating and dying away, creating a quiet, non-sequitur ending to a ferocious piece of music.
While there are many challenges, both technical and ensemble-related, the composer provides detailed setup diagrams and logistical suggestions to aid in the performance. Additionally, the video links provided on the publisher’s website give helpful insight (and proof that performing the piece is possible!). “Wildfire” would certainly be a welcomed feature on a graduate student, faculty, or professional duo concert.
Front Cover graphics and layout: Kirstine Monrad Have
Photo: Ronni Kot Wenzell
Translation: Jan Williams
Recorded in Sonus Studio 2009
Dedicated to: Anders Lynghøj & Casper Facius (SuPerc percussion duo)
Printed in Copenhagen, Denmark
Copyright © Edition Svitzer
Duration: approx. 15 min.