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Triptych I

I.    Toccata for marimba and almglocken (1 player) (8:00)

II.   Wooden Rain for fixed media (8:00)

III.  Beyond Reality for marimba and almglocken (1 player) with fixed media (8:00)

available from the composer

duration ca. 24:00


marimba and almglocken (1 player) with fixed media

Program Note

A triptych is a painting on three hinged panels, often used for altarpieces from the late medieval period onward--Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights is one of the most unusual examples.  I have applied the form to sound in this collection of three independent but closely related pieces.  The first, Toccata, is for marimba and almglocken (tuned cowbells) and develops gradually shifting rhythmic and harmonic patterns.  The title means ‘touch piece’ and I’ve taken that literally, as the percussionist begins by playing directly on the instruments with their fingertips.  The second piece, Wooden Rain, for quadraphonic prerecorded sound only, is generated by the application of the massive replication and phase shifting technique to the marimba parts of a recording of the Toccata, metamorphizing into rough granular sounds and eventually vast sweeps of harmony as the process continues.  The final piece, Beyond Reality, unites the live marimba and almglocken with new manipulations of the pre-recorded version, in a way that seems to draw aside the thinly veiled distinction between actual and imagined worlds.

Triptych I was premiered by Emily Cheng Mei Kwan, percussion, on the concert Multiple Worlds: the Music of Christopher Coleman, April 19, 2015.

Technical Note

The Triptych series was designed to work as a set, with all three pieces in a single Triptych performed at the same time; and equally as independent pieces that can be programmed separately.

Emily Cheng Mei Kwan rehearsing Triptych I in the HKBU Percussion Studio

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