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Andrew Thomas

General Info

Year: 1985
Duration: c. 10:00
Difficulty: VII (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Margun Music
Cost: Score and Parts - $0.00   |   Score Only - $0.00


I. Beyond the faint Edge of the World
II. Time’s Way



Program Notes


Merlin is a marimba solo that was written in 1985 by Andrew Thomas. Commissioned by William Moersch, Merlin was premiered in 1987 at the Merkin Concert Hall in New York. Since then Moersch has performed this work extensively in his concert touring. Inspired by the Edwin Arlington Robinson poem, Merlin, which describes King Arthur's court and its destruction, this marimba solo is composed in two movements. The first movement is a slow chorale-like work. According to Thomas it depicts the knight Gawaine "looking from the battlements of Arthur's castle towards the horizon, sensing the terrible events to come."As expected the music creates an eerie atmosphere of an unsettled calm. Rarely is the chorale predictable as it moves to a loud climax before it drifts into a fading diminuendo. The second movement could easily be the battle after the calm. However, Thomas cites that this movement "is concerned with time and the dissolution of order during time's passage. Here the perceived downbeat of the music constantly shifts, creating a flickering texture with no resting point.” This reference is less of a programmatic point of view than the first movement, but none the less in a dramatic sense. The second movement is a fast virtuosic work that is full of musical and technical challenges. Rhythm is Thomas' vehicle as the music lifts and falls in shifting groupings of sixteenth notes over different meters. The work gradually increases in tempo as it approaches a charging fortissimo ending. Andrew Thomas' Merlin is an outstanding composition for solo marimba. It is approximately eleven minutes long and requires a low "F" instrument as well as an advanced marimbist. Performers who put in the time and dedication to preparing this music will easily be able to find a place on a recital program for Merlin. Hopefully Thomas will elect to compose more works for the marimba in light of Merlin's success. - Mark Ford, October 1993



Commercial Discography

Online Recordings

Recent Performances

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Performer - Jacob Ottmer - Movement I

Performer - Jacob Ottmer - Movement II

Works for Percussion by this Composer

Hexengeheule (Witchhowl) - Marimba, Timpani
Jessica’s Song - Timpani
Loving Mad Tom - Marimba, Orchestra
Merlin - Marimba
Moons Ending - Marimba, Cello
Night Concerto - Percussion Quartet
Pythagoras & The Four Hammers - Percussion Quartet
Tetramorph - Timpani
The Great Spangled Fritillary - Solo Percussion; Marimba; Violin
Three Transformations - Percussion Duo Marimbas
Valse Triste - Marimba
Wind - Marimba

Additional Resources