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Department of Music presents Percussion Ensemble

Nov. 2, 2007 -
- The Arkansas State University Department of Music presents the ASU Percussion Ensemble in concert on Thursday, Nov. 8, at 7:30 p.m. in Riceland Hall, Fowler Center, 201 Olympic Drive. The ASU Percussion Ensemble is conducted by associate professor of music Craig Collison.

The evening’s program will include “
Normandy Beach-1944” by David Gillingham, “The Goodbye Look” by Donald Fagen, arranged by Chris Brooks and performed by Steely Dan, “Concerto for Marimba- Movement One-Suadacao (Greetings), Movement Two-Lamento (Lament), and Movement Four-Despedida (Farewell)” by Ney Rosauro, professor of percussion at the University of Miami. The Rosauro piece will feature Janet Rooney, marimba soloist.

“Normandy Beach” is a well-known piece and is always a treat to hear. The history of the piece is this:
On June 6, 1944, or D-Day, at dawn, British and American forces landed on the beaches of Normandy in an elaborate amphibious operation. A total of 425,000 American, British, and German men lost their lives in the ensuing conflict. “Normandy Beach” was composed in commemoration of this important, yet tragic, day that changed the course of World War II.

The work is cast in three sections. The first section is dark, mysterious, and slow in tempo, characterizing the preparation and eve of D-Day. There are long pedal points mixed with poignant dissonance. Small two-note utterances by bowed marimba can be heard within this section, which alludes to distant bugle calls. Gathering pitch density and motion, the movement segues into the second section, which depicts the tragic conflict on D-Day, beginning with much motion and counterpoint between the four marimbas. Underlying this agitation in the marimbas are explosive articulations by tom-toms and anvil. The low marimbas settle into an ostinato of running sixteenth notes, with the high marimbas playing a haunting motive reminiscent of the bowed “bugle calls” of the first section. Ensuing is a repetitive and hammered rhythm in the upper marimbas, under which the low marimbas allude to the second phrase of the "Star-Spangled Banner." The hammered rhythm becomes incessant and finally subsides into a dark and mysterious presentation of the first phrase of "America, the Beautiful" in chorale style. All motion ceases and the final section or epilogue follows. Beginning in a similar fashion to the first section, a sad and plaintive chorale transpires in the marimbas, suggesting the aftermath of this tragic day on June 6, 1944. Motivic remnants of “America, the Beautiful" intercede with the chorale and the work ends on a dark discord over a pedal F-sharp.

Members of the Percussion Ensemble include Dustin Barker of Paragould, Gabrien Brown of Newport, Curtis Farley of Jonesboro, Alysa Fenner of Jonesboro, Seth Gaskill of Paragould, Coy Ivy of Paragould, Max Riley of Jonesboro, and Janet Rooney of Lake City.

This concert is free and open to the public.
  For more details, please call the Department of Music at (870) 972-2094.


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