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Away From It All

multi-percussion duo


Premiered by Boston Percussion Group members Matt Sharrock and Brian Calhoon on January 28, 2014 in Worcester, MA

About the Piece

I.  On the Road

II.  Unfamiliar Surroundings

III.  Playing with Legos

The titles of the piece and the subsequent movements are references to those moments when one’s meandering mind may be shut off from the world so to speak, wandering as a result of monotony, paranoia, reflection, etc.  Across the three movements, the music progresses from the noises of drums and wood to a pitched marimba and vibraphone duo.  On The Road, serves as an introduction to the piece.  The limited musical materials are derived from the opening gesture – two rhythms, the first heard 3 times and the second concluding the phrase.  These ideas are manipulated and combined in different ways to create an exciting and energetic soundscape.  Unfamiliar Surroundings combines the metallic noise of cymbals with pitch produced by vibraphone.  A clear rhythmic motive gives way to a more expansive and ethereal section where harmonies in the vibraphone are blurred by the sustain pedal.  Playing with Legos refers to the chaconne-like construction of the movement that includes blocks of musical material that are piled atop the opening marimba line.  A contrasting middle section harkens back to the textures and the timbres of the prior movements, as previously used instruments are sprinkled in.  Brilliant passages in the highest register of the marimba give way to the vibraphone’s irregular statement of the opening theme.  After the vibraphone and bongos trade musical ideas, a truncated version of the opening returns and fades away.   

Away From It All - Movement 1
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Away From It All - excerpt from Movement II
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Away From It All - excerpt from the beginning of Movement III
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Away From It All - excerpt from the middle of Movement III
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