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About the work:
The Concerto for Percussion & Orchestra, for four percussion soloists, is in two main movements, with a Prelude and Interlude for the orchestra alone. The Prelude introduces the main theme of the work – heard in the orchestral timpani part – from which much of the rest of the concerto is melodically derived.
A pianissimo dialogue between the two marimbas, the tom toms (played with brushes) and the violins opens the first movement. This delicate texture gives way to bombastic flourishes from the brass, leading to the central culminating section in which the four solo percussionists literally ‘migrate’ across the stage to the Japanese taiko drums. The quiet, delicate texture returns to end the movement.
The Interlude is a reorchestration of the Prelude, the theme transferred from one of the loudest instruments of the orchestra, the timpani, to one of the quietest, the celesta.
The second movement and concluding Finale concentrate primarily on the rhythms and punchy sounds of the Rarotongan log drums. At the conclusion, the timpani once again presents the main theme, and the work ends in the wild energetic roar of the fortissimo drumming of the four orchestral and four solo percussionists.