Dave Hollinden
Percussion Quartet No. 2
  • percussion quartet, duration: 14 minutes
  • composed in 1999
  • premiere: Central Washington University Percussion Ensemble, conducted by Andrew Spencer, Percussive Arts Society Day of Percussion, Boise, ID, April, 1999
  • selected performances:
    • Winthrop University Percussion Ensemble, Rock Hill, SC, 2003
    • Battery Four Percussion Ensemble, Lincoln Center, NYC, NY, 1999
    • Pacific Rims Percussion Quartet, Nippon Kan Theater, Seattle, WA, 1999
Listen to Excerpt:
  • play - first three minutes (starts very quiet), performed by the Pacific Rims Percussion Quartet.
View the Score:

The score is in Adobe Acrobat format (PDF). It is for viewing on the Web, and is not printable.

  • Player 1: large tom, snare, cowbell, 2 auto springs, 2 triangles, slit drum, 3 cymbals
  • Player 2: large tom, snare, cowbell, high-hat, 4 flower pots, sandpaper blocks, bass drum, small tamtam, wind gong
  • Player 3: large tom, field drum with snares, high tom, cowbell, 2 brake drums, 2 metal pipes, clave, vibraphone
  • Player 4: large tom, snare, medium tom, cowbell, 4 crotales (a,c,e,g ascending), metal chain, bell plate, tin can, tambourine without head, 5 temple blocks 4 timpani
About the piece:

The piece begins pianissimo (cymbals, snare w/brushes, vibes, timpani) with a four note theme on the timpani and the instruction "Sly, stealthy". The energy slowly builds to a huge, expressive climax marked "Wham!" (snare, bass drum/tamtam/wind gong, snare, timpani) which dissolves to piano at "Hush, hush" (metals, tamtam/gong, vibes, timpani). The piece then proceeds through a series of increasingly soft and spacious sections marked "Crisp and Brittle", "Delicate, ethereal", and "With a whisper" as the performers move from metals and flower pots with lighter and lighter beaters to the wood instruments with their finger tips. This is interrupted at "POW!" with fortississimo unison drumming on large toms, snares and cowbells through a series of sections marked "Punched", "Angular", "Kaleidoscopic" and "Jagged". "Fickle" signals a return to a more abstract, spacious feel as the instrumentation turns toward metals and flower pots. The four note theme returns as the piece drifts into a pianissimo texture of cymbals and gongs, metallic scrapes and fingers on timpani, ending with a hand on the bass drum.


This composition requires four percussionists, each with a large setup. Between the four players there is a mass of textures and colors including drums, metal, wood, and clay flower pots. The only tuned instruments are four crotales, timpani, and vibraphone. Typical of Hollinden's style, the work is packed with rhythmic syncopation and energetic motives. In contrast to his compositions "Whole Toy" and "Release," this quartet moves from section to section with meter changes rather than rhythmic modulation. There are two cadenza passages in which all four percussionists play in unison at a fff level that will probably work the audience into a frenzy. The work will, no doubt, be popular and appear on numerous programs.

George Frock, Percussive Notes, June 2000.

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