for Solo Marimba and Marimba Duo
By Carla K. Bartlett
This piece, in both its iterations, was composed with students in mind, those in high school or college who are establishing their technique as a soloist, or who might enjoy performing a piece with a friend as a duo partner. They are at an intermediate to advanced level.
They spring from a love of the music of Erik Satie. As a 13-year-old piano student, I learned his set of three charming, dreamy Gymnopédies--a word he coined to represent the dancing images you might see on the side of a Greek vase. A prolific composer for much of his life (1866-1925), Satie wrote ensembles, short piano pieces, and scores for ballet (Parade being his most famous--a collaboration among Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso, and Leonide Massine-- whose outrageous, absurdist style provoked a riot in 1917 Paris.)
A droll, sarcastic sense of humor and verbal wordplay are evident in Satie’s compositions, with titles such as After Thoughts, Five Grimaces, Four Preludes for a Dog, and Three Small Pieces of Cake. Many of his piano pieces include text, not lyrics, inserted between the staves which puzzles to this day: was it meant to be read aloud while played, or was it merely to indicate the spirit of the particular passage?
Satie poked fun at the dark, somber classical music in vogue at the time, for example that of the late Romanticists Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss. Ever a rebel, Satie was among the first to compose in a radically new contemporary style featuring brevity, wit, playfulness, and a kind of mechanical repetition we now associate with the Minimalist style.
The son of popular music composers, Satie incorporated songs from the cabarets and cafes of Paris, children's tunes, ragtime, and influences from the circus and street musicians into his compositions. His music has influenced composers as diverse as Claude Debussy, Darius Milhaud, and John Cage, who called him "indispensable" in the history of contemporary music (Caroline Potter, Erik Satie: A Parisian Composer and His World, Boydell Press, 2016).
Divertissements (diversions or distractions), was written in the playful, absurdist spirit of Satie, employing some of his compositional elements and offering some silliness to relieve our tensions during the Covid-19 pandemic time. You will find childlike melodies, spoken words that seem random, and a respectful nod to those inspirational Gymnopédies.
Special thanks to Heartland Marimba and Jenni Brandon, composer, for guidance and support during its composition, and especially Ujjal Bhattacharyya, for premiering it in a video of his own unique creation as a part of the Heartland Marimba Online Marimba Festival in December 2020.
- Divertissements for Solo Marimba and Marimba Duo - Introduction PDF »
- Divertissements for Solo Marimba - Score - Sample PDF »
- Divertissements for Marimba, Two Players - Score - Sample PDF »
Price: Each piece sells from $8.00.
Other music for brassTheme and Variations for Bb Trumpet and Tenor Trombone
Five Minutes of Play for Solo Bb Trumpet
Inspirations for Brass Quartet
Fanfare and March for Brass Octet
Brass Circus for Brass Nonet