Personal Name

Evan Grover



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Publication Date

Spring 4-19-2015

Year of Release



Evan Grover, percussion

Jordan Carinelli, alto saxophone

This recital is presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements of a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in performance.

Program Notes

The snare drum has historically been neglected by professional composers. Snare drum requires many unique techniques that do not translate to other commonly heard instruments; many composers simply do not understand the instrument. Snare drum solos written by composers tend to be either very easy or physically impossible to play. The most commonly performed snare drum pieces are written by percussionists that compose music on the side. These pieces tend to be demonstrations of percussion technique as opposed to technically and well-composed works. Rupert Kettle with his "Three Etudes for Snare Drum" brings a unique perspective to snare drum solo literature. Rupert Kettle was both a trained composer, studying with John Cage and other twentieth century composers, and was a gifted percussionist. With both of these skill sets, Rupert Kettle uses snare drum rudiments, which are fundamental snare drum rhythmic figures from military drumming of the last four hundred years like many snare drum composers. He then utilizes the snare drum rudiments as thematic material to create all three movements of the work. The opening movement of the work also steals material from one of the most famous military drum cadences, "Three Camps", which is developed through the entire first movement. By combining standard snare drum idioms with a compositional outlook, Rupert Kettle composed a technical, but still very musical work.

Mark Applebaum is the current composition professor at Stanford. "Entre Funerailles II", which translates to between funerals, is a work for solo vibraphone. The piece uses aleatoric, or undetermined elements. In this particular work, the performer picks any measure to begin and then decides which direction to read the score, either left to right or right to left. By using this technique, thousands of correct interpretations of this piece of music can be made.

Dan Senn is an American composer who specializes in sound sculptures and sound installations. "Peeping Tom" was part of a commissioning project in the 1980's to increase the repertoire of snare drum music written by well-known composers. This particular composition is based on a poem written about one of his colleagues, who always wrote highly emotional music. Senn said that he felt like a voyeur looking inside his fellow composer's private life. The player recites the poem while playing rhythms with brushes that directly reflect the rhythm of the text. Evan Grover's use of a cardboard box was an attempt to bring some originality to the work, and was strongly enjoyed by Dr. Senn during his residency at Marshall during the 2014 New Music Festival.

Anthony Almendárez is a current graduate student at Marshall University, studying composition and theory. "Tymbal" was a piece that was inspired by the cicada chirps in the few trees on campus. The two and three note motifs would pass from cicada to cicada. This passing of chirps would create sometimes very consonant rhythms that would move in and out of perceived steady time. Almendárez sought to create this effect with electronics, snare drum, and guiro. The electronics play background noises and non-organized cicada sounds to create a soundscape, while the snare drum and guiro have sixteenth and eighth note groupings passed between each instrument, which represents human interpretation of these rhythms that seem to be created by chance. As for the title, the tymbal is the muscle that cicadas use to create chirps.

Elliot Carter was one of the figure heads of twentieth century music in America. His Eight Pieces for Four Timpani are a collection of solo works that served as experiments with an instrument of limited sound capabilities. Elliot Carter sought to create interesting music with only four pitches in six of the eight works, using a variety of implements and extended techniques on the drums.

The first solo work in this collection is entitled "Saeta", which is an a cappella religious song form from the Andalusia region of southern Spain. This work utilizes a few extended techniques for the player, which includes playing on the dry center of the drum for accompaniment patterns and using the back of the mallets for new timbres in later sections of the work. This piece also utilizes a typical technique in Carter's music called metric modulation, in which rhythms are used to change tempos based on mathematical proportion. Carter, was very interested in mathematic qualities of music, as he worked as a mathematics professor. By using special techniques on the instrument and his signifying compositional techniques, Elliot Carter was able to create the "Saeta", one of the eight major solo works for timpani Elliot Carter composed.

Casey Cangelosi is one of the world's rising stars in both percussion composition and solo performance. His music is some of the most performed new literature and is a requirement at a number of percussion and marimba competitions. "Ogre Ballet" was composed in the summer of 2014 and heavily utilizes the polyrhythm of five against two. Cangelosi also creates interesting timbres by requiring the performer to flip his or her mallets to use the rattan stick on the drums, which creates a thinner, more percussive sound than the plastic ball and by using a hard bass drum mallet.

"Figment V" by Elliot Carter was written in 2009, the hundredth year of Elliot Carter's life, for his grandson's seventeenth birthday, who plays percussion instruments. "Figment V" is Carter's only piece for solo marimba, although he has composed many works for percussion. The work utilizes many techniques typical in his work, including metric modulation, polyrhythm, and an atonal language. Elliot Carter is also very clear in his articulation, asking the marimbist to use dead strokes (the technique of pressing the mallet into the bar) on all notes marked staccato.

Francois Couperin was a French composer in the Baroque period best known for his harpsichord works. His work "Le Rossignol en Amour" was one of his later pieces written in his fourth book of harpsichord works published in 1730. Like many of his works, the title is used to reflect imagery and moods. Couperin uses heavy ornamentation in his music and even wrote one of the most important Baroque treatises on ornamentation interpretation. While not all of these ornaments are possible on marimba, the work brings unique technical elements to the adapter.

Bela Bartok was a Hungarian composer and ethnomusicologist. He used to travel Eastern Europe with an early wax recording device to capture the folk music of different European peoples. Bartok would then use this as source material for his own compositions that developed his new tonal language at the tum of the twentieth century.

"Syncopation" was the 133rd piece from his series of books titled the Mikrokosmos, which were designed to technically advance players in the new musical language being developed at that time.

"Syncopation" uses many different meter and rhythmic groupings that would not be typical in music composed previously. On a side note, Bartok encouraged his piano music to be adapted to other instruments, so a marimba adaption seemed quite natural, although some technical aspects needed some special treatment, as with all adaptions.

David Maslanka is one of America's most well-known contemporary composers. Maslanka composes frequently for marimba and saxophone, writing solos, concerti, and ensemble pieces for both. He composed The Song Book for alto saxophone and marimba in 1998, which is a collection of eight different songs with "Song for Davy" being the first. "Song for Davy" is a rework of a Bach chorale, "Das alte Jahr vergangen ist".

"See Ya Thursday'' was a product of commission by the three major names in classical marimba music in the 1980's and 1990's: Nancy Zeltsman, Robert Van Sice, and William Moersch. These three marimba artists worked to increase the small repertoire for the young five-octave instrument with the goal of utilizing the full range. Steven Mackey requires the player to make very long reaches on the instrument, adding greatly to the technical difficulty of the work.

As for the meaning behind the work, Steven Mackey says that he loves telling and hearing stories. The work is set to the pace of one of Steven Mackey's personal stories, but he encourages the performer to add his or her own story to the music. The events of the story are built around two ascending bass notes, which are prominent in every section of the work with musical texture around them changing as characters experiencing events throughout a story.

Keiko Abe is a Japanese-born marimba artist and composer. Her virtuosic technique and her performance energy helped bring marimba forward as a respected solo instrument in art music. Many of her compositions have become part of the very limited standard repertoire for the marimba, including "Wind in the Bamboo Grove" which is one of her most played works. One unique quality of this work is that the performer is to play the marimba bars with the shafts of the mallet to create the effect of bamboo rustling in the wind.


Smith Recital Hall


Arts and Humanities | Fine Arts | Music | Music Performance

Marshall University Music Department Presents a Senior Recital, Evan Grover, Percussion