Concerto for Four Percussion Soloists and Jazz Orchestra

William Kraft

Publisher: Theodore Presser Company
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

"Configurations" was commissioned by Dick Schory and the Ludwig Drum Co. The first performance took place November 13, 1966, by the USC Wind Ensemble conducted by the composer.

"Configurations" welds together the three worlds of music dearest to me; symphonic/chamber, jazz, percussion. It follows within a two-year span the "Concerto for Four Percussion Soloists and Orchestra", which also contained some references to jazz, but in a much more subtle way.

Guidelines are given for some internal improvisation on the part of the percussionists, particularly in the first movement. These guidelines are sufficient enough to eliminate the necessity of a jazz background. In fact, my attempt has been to merge the two worlds of symphonic/chamber music and jazz so as to reduce the ephemeral aspect of the latter, much as did Milhaud in his "Creation du Monde". Obviously, some associations to exist in the piece; this, I believe, is unavoidable, but yet quite natural.
Most importantly, "Configurations" requires that the percussionists are not only virtuosic in their abilities, but they also function musically: phrasing, interpreting, balancing, interacting with the other soloists and the ensemble, and all the other elements demanded of soloists in concertos. The days of percussionists? being second-class citizens in the musical society are clearly over. The last of orchestral families to be exploited, they have become of age in the 20th century ? not unlike the violin in the 17th and 18th centuries (Corelli, Torelli, Vivaldi, Viotti, etc.). A quote from Grove?s Dictionary of Music draws the parallel most aptly: ?The violin, in short, was favoured in the 18th century for the same reason the pianoforte was favoured in the 19th, because it suited the new music then being composed.

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Additional Information

Commission Ludwig Drum Company
Composition Date 1966
Duration 00:15:00
Orchestration 4 Perc. soli; 1(Picc.) 0 2(B.Cl./A.Sax./Bar.Sax.) 0 - 2 3 3 1; Pno. Amp.Gtr. Bass.Gtr.
Premiere November 13, 1966. University of Southern California Wind Ensemble, composer conducting