"In 1985 I composed Cadenzas, a virtuosic composition for clarinet and percussion. Originally intending to write a series of Cadenzas, each for percussion and a single instrument, I was pleased to be given the opportunity to write this work for the brilliant duo of Ryan Scott and Sanya Eng.
A short, quiet, reflective, colouristic passage introduces each of the three movements before “breaking out” into the virtuosic core of each movement. In the first, the intro moves through fast passage work for solo harp before the harp and vibraphone become a tight unit reflecting a sense of Indonesian gamelan music.
The second movement has an extended introduction before the marimba takes flight with its virtuosic gestures. Tight interlocking phrases pass between marimba and harp - not unlike situations where a married couple might complete each others’ sentences. The movement eventually ends with a virtuosic glockenspiel passage. When composing, I often label sections of score with descriptive words for my own inspiration. This section has celestial music written on its pages.
In movement three, I decided to explore something I had never done - an extended passage of drumming. In this primitive sounding passage, I addressed the problem of balancing drumming with the celestial sound of the harp by having the harp deliver uncharacteristic sharp, loud accents. The harp then returns to a more typical style accompanied by bowed and struck pitches on the vibraphone followed by a section of woodblock utterances. The opening drumming section returns at the end of the piece with a propulsive and dynamic finale.
It is always a privilege to compose for musicians who perform the newest music with commitment and dedication. They inspire me. Ryan and Sanya are two such performers. Cadenzas for Harp and Percussion was commissioned by Ryan and Sanya through the assistance of the Canada Council and the Ontario Arts Council."
Alexina Louie (2013)
Learn about the Soundstreams commission catalogue on our SoundMakers website: SoundMakers.ca/soundstreams-commissions
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