Percussion Quartet (1998) ca. 9+’
Scored for Marimba, Xylophone, Cajon, and various standard mixed percussion (all wood).
Commissioned by Ethos Percussion Group under the auspices of the Jerome Foundation.
Premiered at Weill Recital Hall. Recorded by them in 1999 (see Discography).
Performed by Ethos Percussion Group
Ethos performed this work extensively in the U.S., including at Weill Recital Hall in New York at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Subsequent notable performances include PASIC 2003 by the NIU Percussion Quartet and PASIC 2004 by Ethos. It has been performed at several universities too: Rice, UNT, and Northwestern, among others. It has recently come into the repertoire of Exit 9 Percussion (New Jersey) and Tambuco (Mexico).
One of the ways that Professor Lynn Margulis of the University of Massachussets defines life in her book What is Life?, is as “patterns of chemical conservation in a universe tending toward heat loss and disintegration. . . . Death is part of life because even dying matter, once it reproduces, rescues complex chemical systems and budding dissipative structures from thermodynamic equilibrium. . . . Preserving the past, making a difference between past and present, life binds time, expanding complexity and creating new problems for itself.”I hit upon the title for this piece after I had already decided to restrict the sonic palette exclusively to instruments made of wood, a way to acknowledge this uniquely human reconstitution of organic matter. Not only do the instruments give the trees from which they came new life, but the musicians also bring new life to their instruments. Furthermore, my music tends to be the sum of sometimes disparate parts that take on new life through their integration; jazz, latino, and minimalist music all coexist in The Persistence of Past Chemistries.