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Gernot Blume

General Info

Year: 1991
Duration: c.7:30
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Norsk
Cost: Score and Parts - $0.00   |   Score Only - $0.00



Marimba Quartet


Program Notes

“Why” was written in 1991, originally for string quartet, while I studied jazz, world music, and composition at the California Institute of the Arts. I wanted to explore the possibilities of this classical ensemble type when confronted with jazz phrasing, the rhythmic intensity and drive of jazz, and harmonic structures that exist somewhere between jazz and contemporary music. The piece is also the result of my immersion in Balinese gamelan orchestras and Ghanaian drum ensembles, with particular emphasis on the aspects of interlocking melodies, angular phrases, and steady bass lines.

Much string music has been arranged for mallet keyboard instruments – so this is no exception. But I found that through the different instrumentation the piece transformed into a completely new entity, although all pitches remain the same. That is why the marimba version is valuable to me – it is not merely a copy of the original. In some ways the marimbas add to the feeling of displacement, the “Verfremdung” of different cultural allusions, without which my music cannot exist. Music begins for me where minimally two elements collide. In the case of “Why,” this aesthetic program is also reflective of the context of the composition. I was dismayed after a fellow pianist was almost stabbed to death in a mugging. “Why” expresses fear and anguish, but also the will to overcome.

“Why,” for Marimba Quartet, was first recorded in 1996 on the Equilibrium Label, with musicians from the University of Michigan Percussion Ensemble under the direction of Michael Udow.[1]


Commercial Discography

Recent Performances

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Works for Percussion by this Composer

Flying Nowhere - Vibraphone; Piano
Shinkansen - Percussion; Trombone; Piano
Sprachlos - Mixed Chorus; Percussion
Why - Marimba Quartet

Additional Resources