More on Percussions
~with recordings of some performances~

Again, because of my sudden affection for percussion instruments, I watched the UP Percussion Ensemble perform on “Accents in Rhythm” staged at the Abelardo Hall Auditorium in UP Diliman on 23 February 2012.

As I’ve said in my earlier post, I’ve realized much from hearing the percussive instruments make wonderful music–a unique brand of harmony that only their distinct characters can produce. If you liken instruments to personality, the percussion is peculiar and strange, but can well blend with the majority or can work together with its brood.  The percussion is indeed an accent and asset (pun) to any musical group.

I just thought this: aren’t percussion instruments the most used since man learned to create music? The earlier tribes (until today) usually had drums or things that were struck, beaten, or shaken. Our Cordilleran natives have the gangsa, which is culturally important to their people and an integral part in the execution of rituals, celebrations, merry-making, and social activities. Southeast Asian countries have the related ensembles of kulintang, gamelan, and phipat. Japan’s taiko drums are now popular worldwide, with the players exerting the sweat-exuding effort of beating the large (and giant) drums. Their music ranges from festive to warlike.

We always enjoyed the celebratory beats of many African drums. The music of Latin America always put us feet tapping or our bodies swaying. (I cannot be scholarly with this for I do not know the instruments native to these places.) But what I am trying to say is that the percussion instruments, however we may regard them, are far extended into our social, historical, cultural, and musical lives.

Now I highly esteem percussionists. In an orchestra or symphonic band, for example, I see them always at the back (for the instruments require much space), usually waiting for their turn to strike something then go back into a restive position. (I may be exaggerating!) It is usual to see a percussionist run from one side to another, with the score in hand, as he or she has a number of instruments to play; or one frequently changing mallets depending on the timbre of sound to produce; or one eagerly waiting for his or her turn to almost prance out of the orchestra by clashing the cymbals at the piece’s climactic peak. All these routines a percussionist must skillfully execute with graceful bearing. These are some reasons why I now look up at them, like stars at the night sky. And the percussion makes a lot of difference in an  ensemble–it adds character and colour. Life and music will not be beautiful as they are without percussion.

By the way, my favourite percussion instruments (right now) are the timpani, marimba, and vibraphone! I love the hollow and echoing sound they produce.

Here are some recordings that I sneaked out the concert.

The “Stubernic” is a piece for marimba. The audience unanimously cheered with gusto after the performance. For me, I was entranced by the marimba’s soothing sound.

The next one, “Two Designs”, reminded me of an eerie dream (Slow movement), which metamorphosed to a frenzied episode (Allegro molto movement)  This piece exhibited a range of percussion instruments, all worth hearing.

Next is a piece for three snare drums called “Six Slick Stix Slick Licks”. There was a funny part here, I hope you can share the same chuckle that the audience felt.

Next is s piece for cymbals called “Cymbalectomy”.

This one, “Trio Per Uno”, played on various drums. I cannot imagine such quick successive beating of the drums by the three outstanding percussionists. I cannot help but stare in silence.

  

And here are the rest that I recorded: “Sharpened Stick” (and I say “Yo! Hoh!”) and “Sizzle”.

***

That night’s repertoire was this:

Accents in Rhythm
23 February 2012
Abelardo Hall Auditorium, UP Diliman

Overture for Percussion Ensemble (John Beck)
Time Worn (Michael Aukofer)
Fanfare for Tambourines (John Alfieri)
4/4 for Four (Anthony J Cirone)
Six Slick Stix Click Licks (Paul Goldstaub)
Cymbalectomy (Chris Crockarell)
Sharpened Stick (Brett William Dietz)

Trio Per Uno (Nebojsa Jovan Zivkovic)
>>I. Meccanico
>>III. Molto energico
Stubernic (Mark Ford)
Sizzle (Nathan Daughtrey)
Two Designs (Mario A Gaetano)
>>I. Slow
>>II. Allegro molto

Elizalde Tolentino, director

Cyd Tumpalan, Joven Palencia, Galene Ledesma, Frederick Ruiz, Kevin Castelo, Jaimar Palispis, Mark Villena, Gideon Amaca, Leo Saballe, Nestor Macorol

***

Sorry for the watching audience heads and the low video quality. Nevertheless, the audio is clear (even capturing a baby’s cry!).

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