Sideman - Percussion Concerto
Featuring percussion as a solo instrument is akin to showcasing a chameleon. The basic premise of "one instrument per human" shatters when the soloist is able to jump from one sound to the next, and this gives rise to novel musical possibilities regarding foreground and background. While we often think of percussion bombastically (hence "percussion battery"), the opportunities to blend-in abound, whether through quiet instruments or gentle playing.
That premise underlies Sideman, which begins with the percussionist residing in that wonderful 'midground' grey area. The opening metallic percussion evolves to a miniature 'woodblock drumset' â€“ persistent yet quiet â€“ and it is not until a third of the way into the piece that the player becomes more assertive. Fractured jazz harmonies explode out of the band in tight coordination with the band. The calmer middle movement features a lyrically virtuosic passage for vibraphone and crotales simultaneously, with the prayer bowls of the opening returning meditatively. A seamless transition on tapan, a Bulgarian drum that is one of the amazing Svet Stoyanov's specialities, takes us to the frenetic finale, when rhythms inspired by drum 'n bass electronica overtake both soloist and ensemble. Many thanks to the legendary Gary Green, who has been a crucial mentor for me in band music over many years. Writing a new piece for his final concert with the Frost Ensemble inspired to explore head-on the funk, big-band, and jazz that underpin much of my music, and I sincerely thank Gary, Svet, and the players for bringing this piece to life. - Mason Bates
To submit a performance please join the TEK Percussion Database
Works for Percussion by this Composer