Phillippe Manoury

Duo for Marimbas (from Le Livre des Claviers) (1987)


two 4.3 octave marimbas


5 minutes


Le Livre des Claviers (“the Book of Keyboards”) is a set of 6 pieces for pitched percussion instruments written for the French sextet Les Percussions de Strasbourg.  The two most commonly performed pieces are the marimba duo on tonight’s program and a vibraphone solo.  The marimba duo consists of approximately 40 short musical fragments, with pauses in between each.  These fragments range from a single gesture or chord to a solid minute of running notes.  Within this structure exist moments of solidly grounded rhythm as well as passages filled with disorienting, arhythmic gestures.  Manoury’s real genius in this work is in the way he creates a coherent narrative by relating these two extremes, transforming one into the other, juxtaposing them, and finding middle ground between them.

-Robert Dillon