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Composer: Fabian Otten

Instrument: Violin and Marimba

Level: Advanced

Published: 2024

Price: €35.00

Item details

  • Description +
    • "This exciting composition by an extremely talented and significant young composer/performer, who is emerging as one of the most important in the European scene today, has delivered yet another masterpiece for the marimba repertoire. Following his substantial composition Samsara for solo marimba, this new work, L'assillo, for violin and marimba is exciting in so many ways.  The music is ethereal, quiet, emotional, driving, and much more.  It is destined to become a classic in the chamber music repertoire for violin and marimba. Look for more exciting works from Fabian Otten in the future.  He is already one of our most profound composers of the last decade." 
      — Gordon Stout

      L’Assillo means a “painful thought“ and it’s a piece about how we deal with difficult situations. As we need to get through the pain, perhaps created by an unforeseen circumstance, we need to process the information and allow the emotions to take their course. In the end we can never change what has happened, but we can find peace by accepting the truth. 

  • Instrumentation +
    • Violin and Marimba (5.0 Octave)

  • About the composer +
    • Fabian Otten is the principal percussionist of the Philharmonic State Orchestra of Hamburg, Germany. Born in 1993 in Steinheim, Germany, he started to play piano and percussion at the age of six. In search of something which combines these two instruments, he fell in love with the sound of the marimba. 

      He studied percussion in Hamburg with Massimo Drechsler, Stephan Cürlis and Cornelia Monske, and completed his studies in Berlin with Rainer Seegers, Franz Schindlbeck and Biao Li. As a percussionist and marimbist he won several prizes including the special award of the Bayerischer Rundfunk, 2nd prize at the International 'Marimba Festiva‘ Competition and the 'Eduard-Söring-Preis' in Hamburg. 

      Composing has always been his passion. Alongside his percussion studies, he enhanced his knowledge in music theory and took private lessons with Professor Fredrik Schwenk. Through his compositions he hopes to increase awareness of the emotional possibilites of his instrument.

  • Reviews +
    • Review (Percussive Notes, June 2024)

      According to composer Fabian Otten, “L’assillo” can be translated to a “painful thought,” and his new piece for violin and marimba highlights the challenges we all face with difficulties in life, how we are hurt by these worries — attacked by them at times — and to find peace we must face these challenges head on and accept the truth. At times hauntingly beautiful and other times menacingly intense, Otten’s exceptional duet highlights the instruments’ strengths together while also effectively portraying an emotional state that many of us feel throughout the trials of life.

      Focusing on the marimba part alone, there are certainly some challenges for the intermediate player to overcome to achieve success performing this piece. Otten frequently writes across the instrument, using a wide range to help support the violin. He also incorporates a few technical challenges that performers would need to work out, like octave, one-handed rolls against a melody in the right hand. In the second half of the piece, Otten includes various permutations and linear runs at a fast tempo that would also create challenges in preparation. Add on octave melodies against moving bass lines and one could see how the piece becomes more fit for the advanced marimbist.

      Otten effectively combines the violin with the marimba. The violin’s harmonics help to create the unnerving emotions from the start, while the sustained melodies help to connect with the rolls in the marimba. Often used in juxtaposition, with one as the leading melody and the other a rhythmic or sonic background, the voices trade blows back and forth, creating a sense of inner dialogue and frustration that helps tie into the overall theme. “L’assillo” is a quick eight-minute journey, starting slow and pensive but ramping up halfway to create intense impacts that will leave you with a sense of awe, introspection, and overall enjoyment.

      —Matthew Geiger

  • Credits +
    • Front Cover graphics and layout: Nicola Lee
      Photo: Philip Loeper
      Printed in Copenhagen, Denmark
      Copyright © Edition SVITZER
      With support from Koda’s Cultural Funds

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