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Orion M.

42, for Solo Percussion by Reginald Smith Brindle; Auriga, for Four Percussionists
by Reginald Smith Brindle
Review by: Gardner Read
Notes, Second Series, Vol. 27, No. 3 (Mar., 1971), pp. 570-571
Published by: Music Library Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/896611 .
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minoris broughtabove the thresholdof Monodia,by Ling and MonophonieIII,
awarenessand exploitedto good effect by by Lewisofferdiffering approachesto the
Kardos in his Sonata. The principals of generationand articulationof a single-
the conflict(cql-co) are presentedin the movement formin an atonal idiom.The
firstphraseof the work,and the interval threesectionsof Monodia are relatedin
of a minorninthwhichinitiallyseparates theiruse of the ascendingminorsecond
the twopermeatesthe entireSonataas a and in the intermittent appearanceof an
kind of melodicstructuraldeterminant. echappee motif.In the opening Lento
The workis in A minor/major, but its sectionLing firstprolongsand rhythmi-
tonalityis of the Bart6kianvariety, with cally intensifies
a c#-doscillation,then
considerablemodal material and the gradually expands his tonal material
absenceof conventionalmodulatoryfor- throughexcursionsabove and below the
mulae.The openingsectionof theSonata originalpitches.In the remainder of this
presentsthree different thematicideas, section9-noteinterjections,each built of
the last of whichis especiallyinteresting a differentinterval,are contrastedwith
in thatthreediscernible contrapuntallines thestaticminorsecondprolongation. The
thread chromatically outward from an techniqueof contrasting melodicshapes
initial A, which is retainedas a pedal. seems to govern both the following
The openingmaterial,alteredsomewhat Allegro and Adagio sections.Monodia
and shiftedto Fm/M with a Lydian takes4' 55" to perform. I findit a com-
fourth, comprisesthesecondsection.After pellingwork.
a development basedon thesecondof the Lewis'sMonophoniereliesupon rhyth-
originalthematic ideas,theopeningmate- mic differentiation and the contrastbe-
rial is againpresentedin alteredform,but tweenmeasuredand non-measured time
in the originalkeyof A. The keyof the for the articulationof its four sections.
second movement,Fm/M, furtherrein- He has gone to greatlengthsto achieve
forces the major-minorconflictin its rhythmic variety-so much so that the
relationship to thekeyof theoutermove- performer mayfeelas if he is beingsub-
ments. This movementhas the form jectedto one ofStockhausen's experiments
A-A'-A inverted-B-A. In the perpetuum in "factorsof dubiety."To my ears the
mobile thirdmovementthe eighthnote severely atonalidiomand extreme rythmic
remainsconstantthroughmetricchanges diversity begin to canceleach other,pro-
of 3-3-2/8,11/8,3/2 and others.Two ducinga ratherpervasiveaspectof same-
thematicmotifsare presentedand imme- nessabout thework.My timingis 5' 15".
diately elaborated, then successively Most of the worksreviewedhere will
inverted. Aftera restatement and develop- findtheiradherents.My own conclusion
mentof the firstthematicmotif,Kardos (if I may quote Boulez): "Stravinsky
providesa momentarydigressionon d demeure."
beforesweepingup to a" via progressive CHARLESATKINSON
diminutions of the same initialthematic Universityof North Carolinaat
motif.The durationof the workis ap- Chapel Hill
proximately 11'.

PERCUSSION MUSIC
Reginald Smith Brindle: Orion M.42, twoworksforthemediumthatmeritthe
for solo percussion.London: Hinrich- attentionof all percussionists.
OrionM.42
sen Edition; U. S. A.: C. F. Peters is designedforsevenmetal,eightwooden,
Corp., New York, 1970. [13 p., $6.00] fivemembranous, and two tunedinstru-
ments,all to be played by one percus-
Idem.: Auriga, for four percussionists.
sionist.Auriga,requiringthe servicesof
London: HinrichsenEdition; U. S. A.: fourplayers,calls for
twelvemetal,thir-
C. F. Peters Corp., New York, 1970. teenwooden,tenmembranous, and seven
[$core, 14 p., $6.00] tunedinstruments. Both worksare pref-
Reginald Smith Brindle,author of a aced by preliminary pages thatshow the
recentlypublishedtexton contemporaryphysicallayout of the instruments and
-has-not surprisingly-writtenthatexplicatethepictorialsymbols
percussion, identi-
570

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fyingeach instrument, the varioussticks betweena nervousjazz energyand con-
and malletsrequired,and the severalun- templative lyricpassages.As the workis
orthodoxmethodsutilizedof striking the dedicatedto the memoryof Oscar Petti-
assembledinstruments. Each workdepends ford,both kinds of gesture,and their
upon such action symbology to instruct juxtaposition,seem entirelyappropriate.
theplayersin theirtask,supplemented by The writingis highlycontrapuntalfor
a minimalamount of verbal direction. themostpart,witha suresenseofmelodic
In Orion M.42 pitchedand unpitched shape, in a freelychromaticbut tonal
sounds are skillfullyjuxtaposed and/or style;the piano part provideswhat little
alternated.The music graduallymoves harmonicthrustand punctuation thereis,
froma state of rhythmic freedomto a participatingless in the linear dialog
centralsection,markedRitmico,whichis thanone mightguessfromthe title.The
quite precisein its durationalrelativity. percussionist'srole is similarlyrestricted;
The piece ends with the originalrhyth- the totalimpression, therefore, is perhaps
reestablished.
mic flexibility Comparedto not so muchthatof a "discussion" among
the Zyklusof Stockhausen, thisworkwill fourequals as a quasi-concerto for flute
seem almostelementaryin its technical and cello with piano-percussion accom-
requirements;Orion M.42, nonetheless, paniment.Or one could assumethe dis-
will be rewardingto playerand listener cussiontakingplace betweentwo forces,
alike,forit has its own specialcharm. lyric instruments vs. coloristicones. At
Aurigaalso movesfreelybetweenpas- any rate,theAmramworkis a highlyac-
sages of rhythmic precisionand impreci- cessible-and easily performable-bitof
sion. Curiously,the workcondudeswith chambermusicin a "third-stream" vein,
a brief coda that is quite "square"-a articulatedsimplyand directly.
calculatedfoil,perhaps,to thehighlyfrag- The Yii Ko by Chou Wen-Chung,
mentedrhythmsin glockenspiel, vibra- equallydirectand unpretentious, is cham-
phone, and marimbathat precede this ber music of an entirelydifferent sort.
rathersolemnending.AlthoughAuriga WhereasAmramprefers a highdegreeof
does not requirea conductor, each player differentiation among the parts and a
is entrustedwith the role of "leader"at soloisticcharacterfor at least two of
one timeor another.As thereare frequent them,Chou has deviseda singlehomo-
tempochangesand occasionalinsertsof geneoustexture-"atmosphere" mightbe
meteredmeasures,synchronization cues moreapt as a description-within which
are necessary;theseare givenby thevari- each instrument contributes a fractionof
ous playersin turn. the totalweightby wayof singlepitches,
Timingsfor the two compositions are sonorities,or shortmelodic figures.Al-
given for each system,page, or larger though the ensembleis relativelylarge
durationalspan, and total timingsare (violin,alto flute,Englishhorn,trombone,
indicatedon the final pages. That for bass clarinet,bass trombone,piano-
Orion M.42 is 8'15"'; for Auriga it is 7'. playedmostoftenon thestrings-andtwo
one hears a single,sus-
percussionists),
GARDNER READ
tainedmelodicline, generallypentatonic,
Boston University
emerging withdifferent colorations but all
seeminglyfromthe same "instrument."
The writingforpiano and percussionis
David Amram: Discussion, [for] flute, particularly sensitive,and the windsex-
violoncello, piano and percussion (2 plore degreesof vibrato and slipping/
players).New York: C. F. PetersCorp., slidingtoneswith maximumintegration
1970. [Score,20 p., and parts,$2.00] intothe totalensembleeffect. Yu Ko does
not call forgreatperforming skills,once
Wen-ChungChou: Yu Ko, [for]violin, the fewspecialeffects have been learned;
wind instruments,piano and percus- balance and dynamicsmust be carefully
sion (2 players).New York: C. F. Peters observed,however,or the piece will be
Corp., 1970. [Score,27 p., $2.50] robbedof its specialqualitiesof nuance.
David Amram'sDiscussionis an ex- ELLIOTr SCHWARTZ
tendedseriesof variationsthatalternate Bowdoin College

571

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