The Whole Toy Laid Down

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Dave Hollinden

General Info

Year: 1988
Duration: c. 12:00
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: C. Alan
Cost: Score and Parts - $49.00   |   Score Only - $0.00



Player I: vibraphone, piccolo snare drum, splash cymbal, ride cymbal, triangle
Player II: marimba, xylophone, glockenspiel, chimes, large snare drum, high-hat
Player III: eight graduated tom toms, field drum, two crotales, tambourine, bongos, log drum, two pitched gongs (d#5 and e5), wood block, splash cymbal
Player IV: four timpani, medium snare drum, tenor drum, small bass drum, high-hat, splash cymbal

Program Notes

The title and music for The Whole Toy Laid Down were inspired by an extended daydream about a mechanical wind-up toy. With that as a starting point, my goal was to fuse the energy of rock style drumming with classical performance technique, resulting in music that is both accessible and challenging.[1]


The Whole Toy Laid Down is a demanding and complex work for percussion ensemble. Premiered in 1988 by Ray des Roches and the Percussion Ensemble of New Jersey at the Charles Ives Center, Dave Hollinden's composition was also performed at the 1990 PASIC in Philadelphia by the University of Michigan Percussion Ensemble under the direction of Michael Udow. The work is written for four percussionists each with a large set up of standard percussion instruments. Hollinden incorporates percussion keyboard instruments with toms, snare drums, gongs and an assortment of cymbals and toys to create an array of textures.

The opening motive sets up the theme that recurs throughout the work. Rotating between strong dissonant and octave figures, Hollinden sets the stage for this "roller coaster" piece. The Whole Toy jumps from meter to meter with aggressive unison figures finding contrast with tempo changes and isolated solo passages. The work concludes with a restatement of the main theme and a forceful ending.

Let's be honest here. The Whole Toy Laid Down is not for the faint of heart. This composition is difficult and demands four advanced players with excellent ensemble coaching. However, properly prepared, it would serve as an interesting selection on any college ensemble program.

Mark Ford, Percussive Notes, August, 1992[2]



Commercial Discography

Border Crossing -
Ethos Percussion Group -
Base4 Percussion Quartet

Recent Performances

The New York Percussion Quartet, New York, NY, 2004
Aspen Percussion Ensemble, Aspen Music Festival, Aspen, CO, 1999
Senzuko Music College Percussion Concert, Tokyo, Japan, 1996
Ethos Percussion Ensemble, Merkin Hall, New York, NY, 1995
Julliard Percussion Ensemble, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, NY, 1994
Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, England, 1993
University of Michigan Percussion Ensemble, Percussive Arts Society International Convention, Philadelphia, PA, 1990

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Works for Percussion by this Composer

A Different Drummer - Multiple Percussion
Alchemy - Percussion Duo
Boundary Conditions - Multiple Percussion; String Quartet
Cold Pressed - Multiple Percussion
Dusting the Connecting Link - Multiple Percussion
Flux - Marimba; Flute; Clarinet; Alto Saxophone
Immersion - Percussion Quartet; Saxophone Quartet
In Time to Come - Marimba; Alto Saxophone
Lead - Multiple Percussion; Piano
Of Wind and Water - Marimba
Percussion Quartet No. 2 (Hollinden) - Percussion Quartet
Platinum - Multiple Percussion; Piano
Reckless - Percussion Octet
Release (Hollinden) - Percussion Octet
Six Ideas for Snare, Bass, and Cymbal - Multiple Percussion
Slender Beams of Solid Rhythm - Multiple Percussion
Surface Tension - Percussion Duo
The Whole Toy Laid Down - Percussion Quartet
what clarity? (with perc. ens. version) - Multiple Percussion; Percussion Ensemble (12)
what clarity? (with strings version) - Multiple Percussion; Orchestra

Additional Resources