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The Devil You Know

Composer: Jason Baker

Instrument: Snare Drum

Level: unknown

Published: 2017

Price: €12.00

Item details

  • Description +
    • Duration: 4 min.

      Commissioned by Travis Nestor of West Virginia University in the fall of 2016, The Devil You Know is composed in an arch form consisting of five short movements. Influenced by the piano compositions of Erik Satie, my goal was to create several short statements (movements) that are interesting, but end before wearing out their welcome. The first three were created through stream of consciousness. The fourth movement references material from the second, with a brief nod to the opening sustain in the first movement, with augmented rhythms and dynamics. The final movement is similar in character to the first, with a slightly faster tempo and quicker rhythms. The third movement is non-sequitur and serves a bridge between the outer four. The use of rim clicks serves as bookends to the work, while the use of hands/fingers on the drum signifies its middle.

  • Instrumentation +
    • Snare Drum

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  • About the composer +
    • Dr. Jason Baker serves as Director of Percussion Studies and Associate Professor of Music at Mississippi State University. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of North Texas, a Master of Music degree from the New England Conservatory of Music, and a Bachelor of Music degree (Magna cum Laude) from the University of Connecticut. 

      An active performer, Jason is a member of the Tupelo Symphony Orchestra (principal timpanist), Starkville Symphony Orchestra (principal percussionist), and the State Messengers faculty jazz combo. He has also performed with the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and the Meridian (MS) Symphony Orchestra. Also a frequent solo performer and clinician, Jason has performed at five Percussive Arts Society International Conventions, the College Music Society National and Southern Regional Conferences, Mississippi Bandmasters Association Convention, the Texas Music Educators Association Convention, and universities throughout the country. 

      Dr. Baker has been published in Percussive Notes, with solo compositions and ensemble arrangements published by Drop6, Tap Space Publications, and Living Sound Publications. His works have been featured at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Snare Drum Competition, Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, and the Percussive Arts Society International Convention. Jason’s book, “15 Progressive Snare Drum Solos: A Pedagogical Approach to Repertoire”, was published with Drop6 in 2010.  He has released two solo CDs, "The Noble Snare" (2005) and “Three Works for Solo Snare Drum” (2013). He also serves as a music and publications reviewer for Percussive Notes and is a member of the PAS College Pedagogy Committee. 

      Jason was a performing member with the Glassmen, Boston Crusaders and Connecticut Hurricanes Drum and Bugle Corps and later served on the instructional staff of the Boston Crusaders. He is proud to be an artist for the Yamaha Corporation of America, Innovative Percussion, Remo drumheads, SABIAN cymbals, Grover Pro Percussion, and is President of the Mississippi Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society.

  • Reviews +
    • Review (Percussive Notes, June 2020)

      “The Devil You Know” is a unique addition to the repertoire in that it is a five-movement work that takes about four minutes to perform. Baker explains that it was influenced by Erik Satie, and that his goal was “to create several short statements (movements) that are interesting, but end before wearing out their welcome.” In this endeavor, he has certainly succeeded. These brief statements each have their own character but are gone quickly before moving on to the next. It is reminiscent of lying in bed, unable to sleep, and your mind races from one thing to the next.

      “Presto” does not look intimidating on the page, but the tempo (quarter note = 200) makes this much more rhythmically challenging than meets the eye. A few rim clicks, which will return in the final movement, stand out in the texture. “Slow March” focuses primarily on standard and fourstroke ruffs. “Interlude” is played with fingers and hands. Rolls are performed as fingernail scrapes. It is perfect timing to place a timbre change in the middle of the piece. “Apotheosis” is big, loud, and nasty with grace-note figures, marcato accents,and a fortissimo dynamic nearly throughout. “Finale” is reminiscent of “Presto” but even faster. The rim clicks make their return as nice bookends to the piece.

      This would be a great opener or closer to a recital as well as the perfect study piece that would warrant a studio class performance. There is so much musicality and technique combined in such a short amount of time. Any percussionist would benefit from learning and performing this piece!

      —Justin Bunting

  • Credits +
    • Front Cover graphics and layout: Kirstine Kørner Jensen
      Photo: Mississippi State University Public Relations Office 
      Engraving: Jason Baker/Johan Svitzer
      Printed in Copenhagen, Denmark
      Copyright © Edition SVITZER