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Recital Programme Notes by Colin Currie

ROSAURO Cenas Amerindias
NORGAARD "Fire over Water" from I Ching
MARIC Sense & Innocence
REICH Nagoya Marimbas
SCHMIDT 6 Miniatures for Marimba
MARIC Trilogy

“Colin Currie is a musician first and a percussionist second…The instruments were played with a wonderful range of touch….A marvellous concert which got the South Bank Centre’s Rhythm Sticks festival off to a flying start” (Telegraph, July 2002)

“the total effect of [Dave Maric’s Trilogy] was overwhelming, genuine orchestral textures built out of a battery of live and sampled sounds, with Currie playing the lot – as with everything in his breathtaking recital – from memory, and every movement of the piece delivered with awesome technical expertise and musicality. It’s important not to understate Colin Currie’s standing. We know he’s good – one of the best. He’s already a figure of international standing. But this incredible young Scottish musician – just in his mid-twenties – will be a world star.” (Glasgow Herald, Dec 00)

SCHMIDT Ghanaia (5 ‘)

The percussionist and composer Matthias Schmidt wrote "Ghanaia" after a trip to the country Ghana in North Africa. He was very taken with the rhythmic intensity and hypnotic complexity of the marimba music he heard there. In this piece he uses melodies and counterpoint used in Ghanaian music and fuses them with more Western European ideas with very interesting results.

ROSAURO Cenas Amerindias (10')

I - Brasiliana
II - Eldorado

Written between 1986-7 in Brasilia, Rosauro's Cenas Amerindias are based on rhythmic and melodic motifs from the Indian music of Brazil. "Brasiliana" is written for marimba with wooden instruments and is "written as a homage to the city of Brasilia, containing very symmetric structures that are directly related to the strong geometric shapes with which the city plan was built." "Eldorado," for vibraphone and metal instruments, sounds bright and brilliant in colour compared with the darker sounds of "Brasiliana." It depicts "men's dreams and the crazy search for the magic Golden Land." Both pieces demonstrate the exciting spectacle of one player performing on a variety of instruments simultaneously.

NORGARD "Fire over Water" from I Ching (10’)

"Fire over Water" from I Ching (1982). This final movement from the quartet of pieces I Ching is an often dramatic and bewildering tour de force, written largely for 9 drums and very specific metal sounds. This angry scurrying is interrupted only by the charming (by contrast) central section on the vibraphone. Percussion is very important for this composer and he has written extensively for the instruments. Obvious also are his inspirations from ethnic, popular and world music, as well as his rhythmic inspiration from the human body's rhythm, which involves various rhythmic "phasings" (heartbeat, breathing, eye-blinking etc.). These layers of rhythms are united in this work, which was a visionary addition to the repertoire.

MARIC Sense & Innocence (10’)

“Sense & Innocence” consists of 4 linked movements and a short coda. Movement 1 sets up a sensual and expectant atmosphere. Movement 2 introduces a perceptible tempo and reaches a violent climax which is abruptly interrupted by a highly contrasted Movement 3 where an opportunity arises for the percussionist to collaborate with the bowed sounds on CD by bowing crotales and a selection of cymbals. The final movement uses a very straight forward harmonic and rhythmic language and reaches a passionate conclusion which leads finally to a short coda that recollects in a new context the atmosphere found at the very beginning of the piece.

The majority of the CD recording contains samples and excerpts from a recording session where percussion instruments such as the vibraphone, crotales, marimba, cowbell and a large selection of cymbals were all performed using a double bass bow (other sounds include the dismantling and assembling of some of these instruments, tremelo marimba, and human speech) . The nature of the bowed sounds together with digital signal processing allowed me to instantly create a lush and atmospheric backdrop for the live part which, in an almost ritualistic way, slowly moves between vibraphone, crotales and marimba.

INTERVAL .........

REICH Nagoya Marimbas (5’)

Steve Reich's Nagoya Marimbas was written in 1994, in honour of the opening of the Shirakawa Hall in Nagoya. Having established the harmonic intentions of the work and its rhythmic language, the two marimba players embark on a 'close canon' to the end of the piece; the second player plays precisely the same music as the first player half a beat behind him. The result is a bewildering collage of sound that immediately intrigues the ear. In this version the first marimba part is provided by a backing CD.

SCHMIDT 6 Miniatures for Marimba (13’)

6 Miniatures for Marimba uses a very pianistic approach to the marimba to form a colourful set of pieces. Structurally, the outer movements share much material, as do movements two and three. Movement four is a very serene moment, with an interesting combination of fast but very quiet music while the fifth movement is a simple chorale, in anticipation of the extrovert finale.

MARIC Trilogy (14’)
I. Concentrics
II. Pelogy
III. Tamboo

Dave Maric is an unusually rounded musician with a wide range of knowledge of Latin, jazz and contemporary classical music, and much performance experience as a pianist. This work was commissioned in response to hearing some of his works for live instruments, combined with sampled and digitally altered material from the same instrument. In effect, what is created is a new "super-instrument" with a fascinating overlap between live and sampled sounds during the live performance. This work uses sounds recorded at Colin Currie's practice studio which have since been "composed" into a CD backing track, which is amplified. Of particular interest in this work is the influence of contemporary dance music, such as "Drum and Bass" and "Trance" music.

Notes © Colin Currie
“Sense & Innocence” note © Dave Maric