Hands On! for percussion quartet (1993)

Duration c. 8’ 30” Commissioned and premiered by Slagwerkgroep Den Haag, May 9, 1993, De Waag, Lieden

Recording available on “Same Rivers Different” by Michael Fiday, Innova Recordings (https://www.innova.mu/albums/michael-fiday/same-rivers-different)

Program Notes

Hands On! was originally composed in 1993 for the Dutch percussion ensemble Slagwerkgroep Den Haag, who premiered it in a series of “stokkenthuis” concerts in which the players were forbidden to use drum sticks.  All 4 players play the same instruments: congas, bongos, tambourine, hi-hat cymbal – all instruments usually played with either hands or feet.  In addition, two of the players share a vibraphone, which is also played by the hands instead of with the customary mallets.  The vibraphone functions entirely as a ‘resonance’ instrument, it’s occasional entrances always masked by sharper, louder playing on other instruments – like momentary shades of blue peeking out behind a backdrop of darker, more aggressive lines.  As the work unfolds the vibraphone also reveals a thin strand of a chord progression – all in the context of what is basically a rhythm-based music.  Certain aspects of Hands On! were inspired by surface features of both Indian and West African drumming.  The work was composed under the auspices of a Fulbright grant, and is dedicated to Louis Andriessen.


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