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Jim Casella

General Info

Year: 2008
Duration: c. 3:40
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Tapspace
Cost: Score and Parts - $50.00   |   Score Only - $0.00


Player 1: Glockenspiel
Player 2: Vibraphone
Player 3: Vibraphone
Player 4: Marimba
Player 5: Marimba
Player 6: Timpani
Player 7: Piano
Player 8: Chimes & Waterphone
Player 9: Snare Drum & Sizzle Cymbal & Temple Block & 2 Cowbells
Player 10: Military Drum
Player 11: Concert Tom-tom & Suspended Cymbal
Player 12: Tam-tam
Player 13: Finger Cymbals & Suspended Cymbal& Triangle
Player 14: Crash Cymbals
Player 15: Bass Drum

Program Notes

Dystopia was written in 2008 for the Lanier Middle School percussion ensemble from Buford, Georgia under the direction of Hunter McRae. Around the time we were coming up with the concept of what to do with this piece, I had been doing some film scoring work for low budget horror films. So the crew at Lanier came up with the idea to try capturing a similar sense of tension, action, and suspense these films exhibit, but in a performance piece written specifically for percussion instruments. Part of this endeavor happened naturally while other aspects require a certain sense of creativity to truly capture. Some interesting textures are achieved by way of the bowed waterphone, tam tam, and vibraphones, and the guttural, groaning bass drum achieved by creating friction using a rubber ball drug against the large drumhead. Frequent use of tight intervals and dissonant melodies add to the tension driven by a syncopated ostinato in 5/4.

This type of music isn’t conventional in its melodic or harmonic functions, but rather it’s built to create an audible landscape intended to manipulate emotions. It should get under the listener’s skin. Essentially, this is program music designed to take listeners on a journey of their own images. There isn’t a literal story being told here, but its structure takes us from quiet mystery to suspenseful pursuit, then action-based escape. These dramatic elements should allow each performer or listener to choose his or her own adventure and have a little fun letting the music create a scary story line of their own.[1]



Commercial Discography

Recent Performances

Works for Percussion by this Composer

Altered Gates - Percussion Quintet
Compound Autonomy - Percussion Ensemble (15)
Cop Drama - Percussion Ensemble (16)
Cyclone - Percussion Ensemble (12)
Dystopia - Percussion Ensemble (15)
Joaquin on Sunshine - Percussion Ensemble (15-17)
Katraterra - Percussion Nonet
Meanwhile in a Parallel Universe - Marimba, Percussion Nonet
Prime Ordinals - Multiple Percussion, Djembe
Stormbreak - Percussion Ensemble, Wind Ensemble (optional)
Technology (Casella) - Percussion Ensemble
Truth or Consequence - Percussion Ensemble (19)
Windows of the Maloca - Percussion Ensemble(14)

Additional Resources