Composer: Joseph Schwantner

Title: Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra

This concerto, written in 1993-1994 on a commission by the New York Philharmonic for principal percussionist Christopher Lamb, has become the most famous and widely admired percussion concerto in the current repertoire. Though written for Mr. Lamb, the piece has truly been brought to the public’s attention by scottish percussion soloist Evelyn Glennie, who has toured extensively performing the piece. As with any standard concerto, it is a three movement work. The outer two movements contain much virtuosic drumming and fast marimba playing, reminiscent at times of Schwantner’s marimba solo “Velocities”. A bombastic cadenza marks the third movement, during which the soloist plays an array of drums at times with their hands. The middle movement (In Memoriam) revolves around a concert bass drum heart beat motive, and is the most emotionally intense of the three. The soloist uses different kinds of beaters, including bundles of sticks, and strikes the rim and other parts of the drum in order to bring out novel sounds. This movement also features vibraphone, crotales, water gong, tuned  almglocken, and various other percussion instruments. For movements I and III the soloist is behind the orchestra on a riser in traditional percussion configuration. For movement II, the soloist moves up to a pre-set station in front of the orchestra. The three movements are:

  • I: Con Forza
  • II: Misterioso (In Memoriam)
  • III: Ritimico con Brio

Annotated by Ethan Pani

Posted by bocopercussion

Filed in Concerto, Keyboard, Marimba, Multi Percussion, Orchestral Repertoire, Vibraphone