Composer: Anders Åstrand
Instrument: Percussion Ensemble
Duration: 6 min.
Metal commissioned by Brett Dietz for the Lousiana State University School of Music, Percussion Ensemble. The premiere was March 20, 2008 at Louisiana State University. Commissioned by Hamiruge - The LSU Percussion Group. Brett Dietz, Director.
Gigue and Metal can be performed as one piece with two movements. The set up is two set of crotales high and low, Glockenspiel, Tubular bells, Xylophone, three Marimbas (1 five octave), two vibraphones.
The crotales carry the lead with an ostinato, marimba player 1 and 2 play a ride cymbal with the right hand and the marimba with two mallets in the left. Cymbal suggestions flat ride and a dark ride.
Percussion Ensemble (9 players)
2 Crotales (set)
1 Tubular Bells
About the composer +
As a mallet specialist, Åstrand regularly performs recitals and gives clinics throughout the US and Europe, both as a soloist and together with his percussion ensemble Global Percussion Network. Anders Åstrand has several times performed at PASIC (Percussive Arts Society International Convention).
In his compositions, Åstrand focuses on improvisation as an essential feature for soloists as well as the ensemble. In addition to mallet music, Åstrand has been commissioned to composes for brass quintets, saxophone quartet, choirs, and big band. A more spectacular side features compositions for ice instruments to be performed by percussion ensemble (one of the concerts also featured fighter aircraft as instruments), tractors, and an entire building being inaugurated. Åstrand has also composed music for multimedia performances including dance, video projections, ice instruments, and fire sculptures.
Percussive Notes, May, 2012
Commissioned by Brett Dietz and the Louisiana State University Percussion Ensemble, “Metal” is a challenging combination of wood and metal melodic percussion in an energetic new work for nine players. Each performer is responsible for one keyboard percussion instrument, while two marimba players are also instructed to maintain continuous eighth notes throughout the work on a flat or dark ride cymbal.
The piece opens with a composite melodic and rhythmic figure in the crotales and xylophone over a soft cluster chord in the other keyboard voices. Both crotale parts continue without interruption throughout the work with only slight variation in pitches and no variation in rhythm from the first fourmeasure statement. The third marimba and vibraphone (both parts requiring four mallets) soon take over the bulk of the melodic material, but the piece frequently alternates between these rapid and engaging melodic lines and full ensemble ostinato figures that often disguise the unchanging common-time meter.
In addition to these shifts between melodic statements and ensemble ostinati, the texture varies suddenly in a number of places as the majority of the keyboard parts regularly drop out leaving only the continuous ride cymbal eighth notes and composite crotale figure for two- or four-measure segments. All keyboard parts are highly chromatic and include various sixteenth-note rhythmic figures as well as frequent unison ensemble quintuplets. Even the glockenspiel and tubular bell parts include these rapidly moving sixteenth-note and quintuplet lines in several instances.
The xylophone part is more rhythmic and sparse (similar to the crotale voices) and requires only two mallets. All of the marimba parts require four-mallet technique, although the top two marimba parts uniquely require two mallets in the left hand playing marimba while simultaneously playing the ride cymbal with the right hand. Neither of these two parts will prove particularly difficult to manage in terms of coordination, as each is written with this split-hand technique well considered.
The instrumentation and rhythmic elements of this work are most appropriate for college level ensembles, but since a large portion of the piece consists of repeated ostinato, it is very accessible for solid undergraduate players. “Metal” is a fantastic piece for keyboard percussion ensemble and is well crafted for enjoyment by both performer and audience.
Front Cover graphics and layout: Ronni Kot Wenzell
Engraving: Johan Svitzer
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