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Yán Jiāng (Magma)

Composer: Daniel Berg

Instrument: Marimba

Level: Advanced

Published: 2020

Price: €16.00

Item details

  • Description +
    • When I received the commission for the 2020 Taiwan World Percussion Championship to write a compulsory piece for their first round, I began to think about the development of the marimba repertoire over the past 30 years. Composers like Peter Klatzow, Anna Ignatowicz, Jacob Druckman, Joseph Schwantner and Alejandro Viñao have all helped to further improve the quality of the marimba repertoire and placed the instrument in the exclusive room of classical music.  

      Since 2010, when I published my first work at Edition Svitzer - Blue Memories and Stella Polaris, I have had a close contact to painter Bengt Berglund. Sometimes he has created new paintings directly for my music, like Timbres and Fantasia & Toccata, and sometimes I have used his older paintings from the 60s and 70s. Last year, when I wrote Mistral for Michael Burritt, a green painting from Bengt was the perfect cover. From the same series, Bengt has another one with fiery colors… 

      The inspiration for Yán Jiāng comes from the art by Bengt Berglund and from great composers I admire. 

      With support from Koda’s Cultural Funds.

  • Instrumentation +
    • Marimba (5-octave)

  • About the composer +
    • Daniel Berg is a Swedish composer, musician, and professor in classical percussion at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm and at the Academy of music and drama in Gothenburg.

      In his passion to promote the marimba as a solo- and chamber music instrument, Daniel has worked intimately with a number of composers who have written original music for the instrument. This includes more than 300 world premier for solo and chamber works. Daniel Berg is a marimba artist of Bergerault and Elite Mallets.

      As a composer Daniel has written a lot for solo marimba like Mistral (for Michael Burritt), Phoenix (for Robert van Sice) and Yán Jiâng (for  the Taiwan World Percussion Competition). His music for percussion ensemble have been appreciated and often performed like Kroumata (for sextet) and Arctic Nights (for quintet) - all published by Edition Svitzer.

  • Reviews +
    • Review (Percussive Notes, October 2021)
      Daniel Berg’s newest work ventures away from his previous compositions, driven by various permutations or melodic ideas, to create a more challenging and musically diverse marimba solo. “Yán Jiāng (Magma)” is a two-movement competition piece that includes elements of recent masterworks for the instrument while also paying tribute to influential composers. Stylistic features of classics like “Velocities” by Schwantner, “Toccata” by Ignatowicz, “Reflections on the Nature of Water” by Druckman, and others can be found within the two movements.
      Commissioned by the Taiwan Percussion Arts Alliance for the 2020 Taiwan World Percussion Championship, “Yán Jiāng (Magma)” would be a phenomenal required piece for any contest because of the elements included in each movement. The first movement is a tribute to composer Olivier Messiaen, most notably the use of non-traditional scales with modes of limited transposition like the octatonic, whole-tone, and others. The second movement is a tribute to not only a specific composer, but an instantly recognizable work for many percussionists: “Khan Variations” by Alejandro Viñao, which takes its opening melody from Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s “Allah Muhammad Char Yaar” melody. Interestingly, Messiaen was heavily influenced by Indian music and rhythms, creating a clever connection between the two movements.
      Both movements feature unique challenges for the performer, and when played together create a brilliant dichotomy of slow musical growth into an energetic explosion across the whole instrument. The first movement features a steady pulse in the bass voice, with a repeating dyad that changes slowly over time. Above that, Berg inserts rhythmic challenges, one-handed rolls, and swift ascensions and descensions across the keyboard. The second movement transitions with a tone row that transposes down the keyboard until the beginning of the homage to Viñao. This movement is characterized by rapidly shifting styles pillared by three specific variations. The finale culminates with scales from the first movement and a triumphant conclusion that would surely thrill an audience.
      Fast-shifting intervals, quick permutations, required octaves in both hands, and atonal elements make this piece appropriate for a graduate student or fearless undergraduate.
      —Matthew Geiger
  • Credits +
    • Art work (Photo): Bengt Berglund
      Front Cover: Ronni Kot Wenzell
      Photo (Daniel Berg): Jon Liinason
      Translation (English): Robert Oetomo
      Translation (Taiwanese): Weichen Lin
      Engraving: Ary Golomb
      Printed in Copenhagen, Denmark
      Copyright © Edition SVITZER