Vox in Rama

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Nikola Resanovic

General Info

Year: 1988
Duration: c. 20:30
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: MFP
Cost: Score and Parts - $0.00   |   Score Only - $0.00



Player I - VI: vibraphones(2), snare drum, cymbals α2, suspended cymbals(3), slapstick, wind chimes(glass, tubular, bamboo), timpani, celesta, tom-toms(5), castanets, claves, triangles(5), tubular chimes, log drum, maracas(2 pr.), lion's roar, referee whistle, orchestra bells, guiro, tam tams(2), tambourine, roto-toms (5), xylophone, crotale, bell tree, bass drum, temple blocks, marimba(low A), cow bell, sandpaper blocks

Program Notes


Vox In Rama is an ensemble written for six percussionists who play a large, albeit conventional assortment of instruments-two vibraphones, snare drum, crash cymbals, three suspended cymbals, slapstick, wind chimes (glass, tubular, bamboo), timpani, celesta, five tom toms, castanet machine, claves, five triangles, chimes, log drum, two pairs of maracas, lion's roar, referee's whistle, glockenspiel, guiro, small and large tam tams, tambourine, five toto toms, xylophone, Ab crotale, bell tree, bass drum, temple blocks, marimba (low A), cowbell, and sand blocks. Resanovic has written a programmatic work based on several scriptural passages--’Then Herod sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem from two years old and under " and "Then was fulfilled that which was spoken of by Jeremiah the prophet, saying 'In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are no more "'The work is cast into four movements. The first, "The Playground," reveals a contrapuntal texture dominated by the keyboard-mallet instruments (both vibes and manmba), which, along with celesta, play streams of sixteenth notes in 12/16 meter. The music is tonal, centered primarily in the key of D major. The short, second movement "The Horsemen," features a relentless sixteenth-note motor rhythm. Contrasts between wooden instrument timbres (claves, log drum, maracas. guiro, sand blocks) and metallic percussion (cowbell inangles) are effective. The snare drum adds a repetitive, march-like cadence. The movement reaches a climax with a piercing blast of the referee's whistle. "Slaughter of the Innocents," the third movement, uses a rapid tempo, eighth-and sixteenth-note patterns in compound meters (6/8, 9/8), framed in a contrapuntal texture Roto toms, xylophones, and marimba carry the melodic material, which utilizes repetitive sixteenthnote rhythm patterns and large leaps to generate excitement. The climax of this movement is orchestrated with a high "D" roll, played fortissimo on xylophone, and tone clusters struck on both manuals of the vibraphone. The fourth movement, "Rachel's Lament” offers a sinking contrast to the previous three. It begins with solo vibraphone playing a chant melody in free rhythm fashion. The chant melody is subsequently repeated accompanied by celesta and four-mallet rolled chords on marimba playing a simple chordal harmonization. The movement, and the ensemble is brought to a close with a recapitulation of material found in the initial movement of the work. Scoring for the vibes throughout this ensemble is problematic. The notation for one vibe requires a range from the usual 'F" below middle "C" to the "C" a full three octaves above middle "C", notation for the second vibe requires playing to the "A" above the high"F" that is the highest note on the keyboards of instruments available to most college groups in this country. And, unfortunately, octave transposition of the material that is out of range occasionally necessitates destroying the integrity of scalar passages by the interpolation of an Octave leap somewhere in the middle of the run. If judged from a programmatic standpoint alone, Vox: in Rama falls far short of inspiring an emotional impact that can compare to that of the Biblical text from which it draws its inspiration. That is far too pretentious a task to accomplish within the instrumental limitations and the length of time these movements encompass. However, this is a work that contains some excellent writing, especially for the mallet instruments, and certainly merits the serious attention of a college percussion ensemble. - John R Raush[1]



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Works for Percussion by this Composer

Trio for Clarinet, Violin and Marimba - Marimba, Clarinet, Violin
Vox in Rama - Percussion Sextet

Additional Resources