Crown of Thorns

From TEK Percussion Database
Jump to navigation Jump to search

David Maslanka

General Info

Year of Published: 1991
Publisher: Maslanka Press
Difficulty: Advanced
Duration: 00:15:00


Player 1: Glockenspiel
Player 2: Vibraphone
Player 3: Vibraphone
Player 4: Marimba
Player 5: Marimba
Player 6: Marimba
Player 7: Marimba
Player 8: Marimba

Program Note

The title “Crown of Thorns” is an obvious reference to Christ’s crown of thorns, but the name first came to me as a possible title for a piece from seeing a plant called “Crown of Thorns” at the New York Botanical Gardens. Crown of Thorns is a rambling, thorny desert plant from the Middle East, with small green leaves, and small, pretty red flowers. The rambling, interweaving, vine-like stems suggested music to me.
As I meditated on the words “Crown of Thorns”, and on the plant, and on the idea of a work for keyboard percussion ensemble, the following image arose:

a darkening sky
seven stars are visible:
the seven-starred halo
the golden light
the hands of blessing

The seven-starred halo is a transcended image of the crown of thorns. It is the crown of highest spiritual power arrived at through the greatest depth of suffering. The imagery is Christian, but the experience transcends religion, and is universal. The music is at times sober and reflective, but more often filled with a liberated energy and joy.

Note to Conductors

Careful attention must be paid to the variable speeds and expressive qualities of the opening 29 measures. From that point on, and especially at m. 47, the tempo of ♩= 120 must be locked in place. There is a tendency to want to slow between mm. 99 and 118, and the corresponding place in the recapitulation, but these passages must be maintained at speed. At m. 144, the music suggests the possibility of a slower, more reflective play, but the tempo must be maintained at ♩= 104. Persistent attention to marked tempi will allow the long expressive line of the piece to emerge properly.

Recent Performance

Works for Percussion by this Composer

Arcadia II: Concerto for Marimba and Percussion Ensemble - Marimba, Percussion Sextet
Concerto for Marimba and Band (Maslanka) - Marimba, Band
Crown of Thorns - Percussion Octet - Mallet Ensemble
David’s Book: Concerto for Solo Percussionist and Wind Ensemble - Multiple Percussion, Wind Ensemble
Hohner - Percussion Ensemble (21)
Hurtling Through Space at an Unimaginable Speed - Percussion Ensemble (12)
In Lonely Fields - Multiple Percussion, Chamber Orchestra
Montana Music: Three Dances for Percussion - Percussion Septet +1 for 3rd Mvmnt, Piano, Double Bass
My Lady White - Marimba
A Solemn Music - Marimba
Song Book for Alto Saxophone and Marimba - Marimba, Alto Saxophone
This is the world we know, the world of air and breathing and sun and beating hearts - Percussion Duo, 2 Pianos
Time Stream - Steel Drum Ensemble
Variations on ‘Lost Love’ - Marimba