Dave Hollinden
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Compositions:
Release
  • for eight percussionists, duration: 15 minutes
  • composed in 1995
  • commissioned by Andrew Spencer and Central Washington University, with assistance from Eastern Washington University, Boise State University, and Central Washington University alumni.
  • premiere: Central WA University Percussion Ensemble, Percussive Arts Society International Convention, Phoenix, AZ, 1995
  • select performances:
    • Northwestern University School of Music Percussion Ensemble, Evanston, IL, 1998
    • Percussion Ensemble of the University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, 1998
    • Percussion Ensemble Recital, New England Conservatory of Music, Boston, MA, 1997
    • Percussion Ensemble Department Recital, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, 1996
Listen to Excerpt:
  • play: opening section, from the CD Slender Beams, performed by the Central WA University Percussion Ensemble.
Recording:
  • Release appears on the CD Slender Beams by Dave Hollinden and Andrew Spencer.
View the Score:
Instrumentation:
  • Player 1: marimba (low A), brake drum, bell plate, metal pipe, bamboo wind chimes, crash cymbal
  • Player 2: vibraphone, brake drum, bell plate, metal pipe, Tibetan prayer cymbals, crash cymbal
  • Player 3: marimba (low A), brake drum, bell plate, metal pipe, bamboo wind chimes, crash cymbal
  • Player 4: vibra-slap, sleigh bells, brake drum, auto spring, 2 cowbells, bell plate, metal pipe, 2 triangles, 2 crotales (c and f#), lg. tam-tam, crash cymbal, sizzle cymbal, Chinese cymbal
  • Player 5: lg. bass drum, field drum w/snares, cowbell, 4 tom toms, 2 congas, bongos, 2 small drums, glass wind chimes, marc tree, finger cymbals
  • Player 6: 2 timbales, tambourine, cowbell, log drum, 5 temple blocks, 3 wood blocks, clave, 3 timpani (30", 25", 23")
  • Player 7: sm. bass drum, field drum w/snares, cowbell, 4 tom toms, 2 congas, bongos, 2 small drums, glockenspiel
  • Player 8: tambourine, sleigh bells, brake drum, auto spring, 2 cowbells, bell plate, metal pipe, 2 triangles, 2 crotales (d and a#), sm. tam-tam, crash cymbal, sizzle cymbal, Chinese cymbal
About the Piece/Program Note:

Release was composed during a period of personal loss. The inspiration came first in the form of motives, followed rapidly by a rhythmic score and then orchestration for the ensemble. Embedded in the piece are both the darker and lighter aspects of loss and tragedy, a mingling of anger, fear, freedom, growth, etc., all of which should be emphasized in performance.

Review:

This percussion octet requires an immense instrumentation, including three mallet instruments (vibes and two marimbas), a large assortment of wooden and metallic idiophones, and membranophones including three timpani. The score incorporates many features characteristic of Hollinden's music--"timbre-staff notation and setup" (instruments are configured to resemble the black and white keys on a piano, and the part is notated as if written for a keyboard-mallet instrument), unison performance of complex rhythms played by two or more players, and virtuosic solo writing. Release, which was composed, we are informed "during a period of personal loss," conveys an extreme range of emotions, clearly indicated in the labels affixed to various sections, such as "turbulent," "jarring," "raging," "numb" and "cathartic." It is a challenging new work that will test the mettle of mature college percussionists and certainly substantiate Hollinden's growing reputation as an effective and imaginative composer of music for percussion instruments.

John R. Raush, Percussive Notes, August, 1996

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