Posted By : dericho
Piece Title : Crown Of Thorns
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Dificulty Rating :
Level : Senior / Graduate
Composer / Arranger : Maslanka, David (1943-)
Composer / Arranger Details:

David Maslanka was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1943. He attended the Oberlin College Conservatory where he studied composition with Joseph Wood. He spent a year at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, and did graduate work in composition at Michigan State University with H. Owen Reed.

Maslanka`s works for winds and percussion have become especially well known. They include among others, "A Child`s Garden of Dreams" for Symphonic Wind Ensemble, "Concerto for Piano, Winds and Percussion," the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th symphonies, "Mass" for soloists, chorus, boys chorus, wind orchestra and organ, and the two Wind Quintets. Percussion works include, "Variations of `Lost Love`" and "My Lady White: for solo marimba, and three ensemble works: "Arcadia II: Concerto for Marimba and Percussion Ensemble," "Crown of Thorns," and "Montana Music: Three Dances for Percussion." In addition, he has written a wide variety of chamber, orchestral, and choral pieces.

David Maslanka`s compositions are published by Carl Fischer, Inc., Kjos Music Company, Marimba Productions, Inc., the North American Saxophone Alliance, and OU Percussion Press, and have been recorded on Albany, Cambria, CRI, Mark, Novisse, and Klavier labels. He has served on the faculties of the State University of New York at Geneseo, Sarah Lawrence College, New York University, and Kingsborough College of the City University of New York. He now lives in Missoula, Montana. David Maslanka is a member of ASCAP.

Total Number of Percussionists Required :8 Percussionist(s)
Categories : Tuned Percussion / Percussion Ensemble
Instrument / Discipline : Keyboard Percussion Ensemble
Instrumentation : 4 1/3 Octave Marimba (Low A) (x4) / Glockenspiel / Vibraphone (x2)
Range of Instruments / Number of Drums : NA
Written for / Commissioned by : University of Oklahoma Percussion Ensemble
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Publisher :OU Percussion Press
Publishers Website
Publisher Details :

In 1977 the OU Percussion Orchestra and Ensemble embarked on a project that developed into a national model for the encouragement and development of new music for percussion ensemble.  The OU Percussion Ensemble Commissioning Series regularly engages outstanding composers to write works for this medium.  The Commissioning Series is responsible for the creation of some of today`s staples in the percussion ensemble repertoire.

     In 1983 the University of Oklahoma funded the establishment of the OU Percussion Press, a non-profit extension of the percussion area. Through the Percussion Press, the commissioning series compositions plus other works expressly written for the OU Percussion Orchestra and Ensembles have been made available for purchase and performance by the world`s leading percussion ensembles. The Percussion Press` catalog numbers more than 50 works, all published in a non-profit venture as a service to the profession.

Year Composed / Copyright Date :1991 /  1991
Duration :14Minutes
No. of Mallets/Sticks Required :2
Special Needs :NA
Sheet Music Available From      Check to see if in stock
Programme Notes / Performance Details :

The title Crown of Thorns  is an obvius reference to Christ`s "Crown of Thorns," but the name first came to me as a possible title for a piece from a seeing a plant called "Crown of Thorns" at the New York Botanical Gardens. This is a rambling, thorny desert plant from the Middle East, with small, green leaves, and small, very simple and pretty red flowers. The rambling, interweaving, vine-like stems suggested music to me.

As I meditated on the words "crown of thorns," and on the plant, and the idea of the work for keyboard percussion ensemble, the following image arose:

a darkening sky

seven stars are visible

the seven-starred halo

the golden light

the hands of blessing

The seven-starred halo is the crown of thorns transcended. It is the crown of highest spiritual power arrived at through the greatest depth of suffering.  The imagery is Christian, but the experience transcends religion, and is universal. The music is at times sober and reflective, but is, for the most part, filled with the joy of liberation.

Careful attention must be paid to the variable speeds and expressive qualities of the opening 29 measures. From that point on, and especially at measure 47,  the tempo of 120 must be locked into place. There is a tendency to slow down between measures  99 and 118, and in the corresponding recapitulation passage, but these passages must be maintained at speed. At measure 144, the music suggests the possiblity of a slower, more reflective play, but the tempo must be maintained at ca. 104. Persistent attention to pulse at marked tempos will allow the long expressive line of the piece to emerge properly.

Crown of Thorns is in sonata form with the following structural layout:

m. 1-46            introduction

m. 47-64         theme 1

m. 65-86         theme 2, closely related to theme 1

m. 87-118      theme 3, closely related to theme 1 and 2

m. 119-143    closing area, based on theme 3

m. 144-162    interlude, structurally, but not thematically related to the introduction

m. 163-256    development, based largely on theme 1

m. 257-338    recapitulation of theme 3, and so on

m. 287-327    a long dying away, based on the closing area

m. 328-338   coda

-Notes by the composer

 Note: Marimba 1 and the Bass Marimba part can both fit on a 5-octave Marimba.

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Scheduled Performances : Update
Who Venue Date Time
RixStix Percussion Ensemble Barrus Concert Hall at Brigham Young University-Idaho 2013-03-07 7:30
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