The Parables

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Dan Heslink

General Info

Year: 1988
Duration: c. 20:00
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Honeyrock
Cost: Score and Parts - $28.00   |   Score Only - $0.00



Player I - II: timpani(2), drumset, field drum, log drum, suspended cymbals(4), vibraphone, marimba, xylophone, chimes, temple blocks, jingle sticks, triangles(3), bass drum, cymbals α2, tuned tom-toms(4), whistles(2), maracas
with narrator

Program Notes

Scored for two multi-percussionists and narrator - percussionists interpret text based on New Testament scripture. Twelve movements, can be performed in various combinations, requires large array of percussion instruments.[1]

premiere: April 1989, Millersville University of Pennsylvania, Karen Beyer Boots, percussion, Keith Wiley, narrator


"The Parables" is a work for two percussionists utilizing multiple- percussion setups and narrator. In the performance notes, Heslink states: "This work was written in response to a long-felt need for Christian musical literature featuring percussion. The narrative text is scripture, interpreted by two performers, with setups of multiple percussion. The music's strong polyrhythmic cast is combined with a wide array of instrumental colors" The instrumentation includes: xylophone, chimes, vibes, bells, four timpani, field drum, three concert tom-toms, 22-inch bass drum with foot pedal, hi-hat, four tube drums/melodic tom-toms, two suspended cymbals, claves, large woodblock, three triangles (small, medium, large), two jingle sticks, suspended brake-fluid pan or similar metallic sound, snare drum, four graduated cymbals to place on timpani, bongos, large bass drum, four temple blocks, tam-tam, log drum, sizzle cymbal, maracas, rute, suspended finger cymbal, large brake drum, large shaker and two police whistles. The performers share instruments, and Heslink's suggested setup is flexible. The narrator's text is taken from the Holy Bible New International Version (1973) with minor adjustments. There are eleven parables and an introduction comprising twelve movements total. Heslink suggests that any number of movements may be used for performances. "The Parables" is composed in a score format; therefore, each performer is aware of all parts including the text of the narrator. The placement of the narrator's text is indicated by numbers in the percussion score. Two-mallet technique is employed in all the keyboard parts. Rhythmic complexities exist in "Parable IV," "Parable VII" and "Parable VIII." Additionally, Player 1 must have agile single-stroke chops and precise four-stroke ruffs in order to adequately perform "Parable IV" and "Parable XII." - Lisa Rogers, April 1998 [2]



Commercial Discography

Recent Performances

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Works for Percussion by this Composer

Ancient Visions - Percussion Sextet
Fantasia for Bar Percussion Instruments - Percussion Octet
Five Hymns for Marimba - Marimba
The Parables - Percussion Duo; Narrator
Theme and Variations for Snare Drum - Snare Drum
Variations on Amazing Grace - Marimba

Additional Resources