This work is published for performance and study. The performance set includes a saddle-stitch performance score booklet for the pianist and loose-leaf part set for the drummer.
About the work:
Each of the four dances was stimulated by a certain rhythmic interaction possible between the two performers. From the chaotic first movement (which is like a game where both players attempt to force each others' cadences), to the ending of the prestissimo fourth movement (in which both parts are synchronised), the two performers gradually begin working together instead of battling for superiority.
The second movement is a loosely-written stately dance, and the third movement involves very tight rhythmic interaction and is driven by syncopation occurring simultaneously on several levels (from the semiquaver to the crotchet).The work is heavily influenced by jazz and rock music, particularly that of the late 1980s and early 1990s. I am greatly inspired by the drumming of Dave Weckl, the very different piano styles of Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea, and the enormous energy in the music of guitarists like Steve Vai.
Selected publication review:
'New Zealand composer John Psathas has created a real workout for piano and drum set in his four-part work Drum Dances. Psathas, who admits to being influenced by Chick Corea and Dave Weckl, has produced a very detailed piano / drum set score that attempts to capture the spontaneity and rhythmic interplay of a duet between these two musicians. He has done an excellent job.
'The first movement is a lengthy drum solo with specific accents that correspond to the melody. The slower second movement requires the drummer to play glockenspiel atop a bass drum / hi-hat accompaniment. The third movement is a study in rhythmic displacement for the drums as the pianist takes the forefront. The fourth movement is a fast and furious ‘duel’ between the pianist and the drummer that challenges both players with shifting meters and accent patterns. The piano part is really a study in two-hand independence.
'Written for a five piece kit (with four cymbals), this is for the advanced player who has great chops, solid time, good reading skills, and nerves of steel. The piano part would require someone of equal talent. It would make an excellent finale for any professional concert.'
Terry O'Mahoney, Percussive Notes