Concertino for Marimba and Orchestra

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Paul Creston

General Info

Year: 1940
Duration: c. 15:00
Difficulty: Intermediate (see Ratings for explanation)
Marimba Required: 4 Octave
Publisher: SchirmerG
Cost: Score and Parts - $0.00   |   Score Only - $0.00


I. Vigorous
II. Calm
III. Lively



Orchestra: horns, timpani, strings (piano reduction)

Program Notes

commission: Frederique Petrides; premiere: 29 April 1940, Orchestra Classique, F. Petrides, conductor, Ruth Stuber Jeanne, soloist (2nd movement of Concertino arranged for marimba with organ titled: Meditation)


The conductor of the Orchestrette Classique at the time, Frederique Petrides, commissioned this piece in the year of its composition, the piece was also dedicated by the composer to the conductor. One of the first marimba concertos composed, this pieces’ goal was to show how the marimba was able to effectively act as a solo instrument to the symphony orchestra. Although there are no cadenzas written in the concerto, Creston has said he has written the piece with many places for virtuosity to be shown through the entirety of the piece. Movement I, Vigorous: This exciting movement requires great acrobatics as the performer must move up and down the marimba, often not only playing flowing lyrical lines, but double stops and grace notes that are quite far apart from each other. Using two themes, a quick, rhythmic theme, and a slower lyrical one, this movement helps to immediately express the capabilities of the marimba. Movement II, Calm: This movement starts by utilizing the popular four-mallet technique originally written to be used in the Milhaud concerto for marimba and vibraphone. This movement continues to express the performer and marimba’s ability to play lyrical Offering solos within the woodwinds, as well as flowing bouncy melodies provided by the orchestra help the marimba’s beautifully written chords to flow over the music provided by the symphony orchestra. Movement III, Lively: In a return to the feeling of the first movement, the third movement uses several themes originally presented in the first movement, including a heavy use of the upper register as well as double lateral lines between the two hands, single lateral lines, and large gaps between intervals that are written as double-stops. Being in 6/8, this movement offers much rhythmic variety in the marimba as well as rhythmic/harmonic support as well as interplay from the orchestra. This piece features a climactic, if not abrupt, ending with the marimba continuing to get faster and push clear into the end. This piece is published by G. Schirmer. There are many recordings of this piece on YouTube as well as a recording of Christopher Norton playing with the Nashville Chamber Orchestra on his CD: Creston Concertino for Marimba.


This very challenging work written in 1940, one of the few concerti written for marimba, is now available in print. Its duration is approximately 15 minutes. The orchestral parts are available on rental from the publisher. The work is in three movements, with the first and third movements offering fine technical two mallet work, and the second movement containing excellent lyric writing for four mallets. The piano accompaniment. being a reduction of the orchestral score, will require an accomplished accompanist to handle its rhythmic and chordal difficulties. - PAS Staff, October 1963 [1]



Commercial Discography

Christopher Norton with Nashville Chamber Orchestra - Creston Concertino for Marimba

Online Recordings

Recent Performances

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Works for Percussion by this Composer

CeremonialPercussion Septet; Piano
Concertino for Marimba and Band, op.21BMarimba; Band
Concertino for Marimba and Orchestra – Marimba; Orchestra
Meditation – Marimba; Organ

Additional Resources