Resounding Earth (2012)
*Form options: Movements can be played one after the other, in any order, in any subset, and it is optional to play music by other composers in-between the movements of Resounding Earth. Performing music by the "Homage to" composers would be ideal programming. The "Homage to" composers are: Olivier Messiaen, Igor Stravinsky, Luciano Berio, Pierre Boulez, Lou Harrison, György Ligeti, Edgard Varèse, Harry Partch and John Cage.
Program Note by the Composer
#1: INVOCATION PULSE RADIANCE
#2: PRAYER STAR DUST ORBITS
#3: MANTRA CEREMONIAL TIME SHAPES
#4: REVERIE CRYSTAL LATTICE
Everything that we are made of, everything that we know and love, is made from the stars.
We (like all metals) are stardust. Metals are exceptionally resonant sound sources, rich with vibrational possibilities. As such, artisans across time and earth have been inspired to sculpt metals into musical instruments. More than five hundred pieces of metal are incorporated into the instrumentation of Resounding (re-sounding) Earth.
Resounding Earth can be heard and imagined as a United-Nations-of-Resonances.
Scored for four percussionists playing bells from a wide variety of cultures and historical periods, the project is conceived as a cultural statement celebrating interdependence and commonality across all cultures; and as a musical statement celebrating the extraordinary beauty and diversity of expression inherent in bell sounds.
Probing into bells' rich meanings and characteristics as carriers of history, ethnicity, societal and cultural connotations is a joy and wonder. Bells can be used to celebrate grand occasions, hold sacrificial rites, keep a record of events, give the correct time, celebrate births and weddings, mark funerals, caution a community, enhance any number of religious ceremonies, and are even hung around the necks of animals. As carriers of history and culture, bells, of numerous shapes, sizes, types, decorative patterns, weights, functions, and cultural connotations, enrapture and inspire.
Bells are central to Augusta's music; bells permeate her music. For over 25 years, in every work for orchestra, and in many for smaller ensembles, she has been composing music frequently using percussion consisting of bell sounds (pitched metal percussion and all the mallet percussion instruments) many of which have their origins in other than Western musical cultures. As such, her new piece is an extreme extension of work she has been doing for decades.
"I treasure the opportunity to collaborate with the musicians in Third Coast Percussion because they are world-class virtuosi, visionary artists, and collegial, spectacular teammates. Involving a large battery of unique, ancient bells from around the world, our composition thus requires countless hours of refining nuances, colors, mallet choices, bell placements, and honing any number of other shadings, tunings, and gradations of the sound complexes. The musicians in Third Coast Percussion are ardent collaborators."
Resounding Earth is dedicated with admiration and gratitude to Third Coast Percussion. http://www.thirdcoastpercussion.com
Augusta Read Thomas
Steve Smith, New York Times, Arts Beat blog
THOMAS: Resounding Earth
"In Resounding Earth, composed by Augusta Read Thomas for the Chicago quartet Third Coast Percussion, a constellation of singing, ringing and chiming bells, gongs and other metallic implements, representing cultures and traditions from around the world, serves to honor nine venerated 20th-century composers. Bliss out to Ms. Thomas's transfixing shimmer on the immaculately recorded CD, and marvel at the ensemble performing the intricate work on the accompanying DVD."
Elaine Schmidt, Special to the Journal Sentinel (Milwaukee, WI)
"Present Music opened Saturday evening's performance with a Vogel Hall stage filled with percussion curiosities.
"Featuring the Chicago-based Third Coast Percussion Ensemble, the program began with a completely fascinating performance of Prayer Star Dust Orbits from Augusta Read Thomas's Resounding Earth.
"The four Third Coast players created an enormous palette of sounds using standing bells (think Tibetan singing bowls). The resonant sounds of the standing bells created such vivid sounds that one could almost imagine seeing the sound waves moving through the air and bouncing off of one another."
To obtain examination or performance material for any of Augusta Read Thomas's works, please contact G. Schirmer Inc..