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D Profundis

Composer: Johannes Steinbauer

Instrument: Marimba

Level: Intermediate/Advanced

Published: 2022

Price: €16.00

Item details

  • Description +
    • Duration: approx. 9 min.


      D PROFUNDIS is a piece for marimba, that begins (as if from nowhere) in the depths, rises step by step, becoming more and more intense (and rhythmic) until, at the end, it winds down and returns to the point of the beginning (a low D).

      The tones C - c2 (on a 5 octave marimba) are needed.

      Special thanks to Matti Opiola for the intense interpretation and Thorsten Blumberg for the professional production of the presentation video.

  • Instrumentation +
    • Marimba (5-octave)

  • Watch+
  • About the composer +
    • Johannes Steinbauer was born in 1973 in Bavaria (Germany) and started drumming in a brass band at the age of 11. Later, he was taught by Christian Obermaier, who laid the groundwork for his professional training.   

      In 1993, whilst studying with Prof. Arnold F. Riedhammer at the „Richard Strauss Konservatorium“ in Munich, Johannes Steinbauer won a position as percussionist in the „Beethoven Orchester Bonn“. In 2001 he was appointed Principal Percussionist of the „WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln“. 

      Studies for snare drum and percussion were written in 2019, based on decades of orchestral experience. In 2020, Johannes Steinbauer composed his first solo pieces, including the 2020 Solo Trilogy for Vibraphone and Percussion, which was produced by the Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Cologne in 2021. 

      For more information, please visit www.charakter-etueden.de

  • Reviews +
    • Percussive Notes, February 2023

      Slightly off the beaten path of permutation-driven compositions, “D Profundis” is Johannes Steinbauer’s new marimba solo derived from double stops, major seconds, and slow-moving harmonies. Steinbauer references the Latin phrase De Profundis — meaning “out of the depths” — by utilizing the lower octaves of the marimba to generate much of the content for the solo as the piece develops. “D Profundis” offers listeners a slow burn through a variety of mesmeric patterns that gradually grow and fade, starting and ending with dark, ominous tones.

      Much of the solo stays harmonically static, relying on rhythmic development and subtle changes to create impact and movement. Implying D minor throughout the majority of the piece, Steinbauer moves slowly from one idea to another, often repeating ideas numerous times to help create more thematic material. The solo begins with a soft chorale that crawls back and forth between conjunct melody notes above a relatively stationary lower harmony. After some simple arpeggiations, the work picks up steam incorporating a “Keiko Abe-esque” left-hand ostinato against interjecting right-hand double stops. These double stops form the basis for the next major section of the work featuring a repeating four-over-three polyrhythm. The double stops continue to form the bridge between sections as the ostinato returns, giving the solo one final push of energy before dying away with swaying blockchord patterns reminiscent of the melody motion at the very beginning.

      With a focus on a more relaxed, dramatic atmosphere over fast-paced linear passages, “D Profundis” fits well for a change-of-pace piece within many undergraduate recitals. At around nine minutes in length, it would work well in the middle of a recital, between two faster paced works featuring drums or more active material. The reflective, repetitive nature suits a recital hall with plenty of reverb and an audience patient enough and willing to enjoy the resonance of the many block chords permeating this piece.

      —Matthew Geiger

  • Credits +
    • Front Cover: Julia Okon
      Front Cover Artwork: Nicola Lee
      Photo: Thorsten Blumberg
      Translation: Dan Townsend
      Engraving: Johannes Steinbauer
      Printed in Copenhagen, Denmark
      Copyright © Edition SVITZER