1. 30 (10:18)
2. THE FIRST DECADE (10:17)
3. THE SECOND DECADE (10:13)
4. THE THIRD DECADE (10:18)
5. THE FIRST DECADE + THE SECOND DECADE (10:16)
6. THE FIRST DECADE + THE THIRD DECADE (10:19)
7. THE SECOND DECADE + THE THIRD DECADE (10:22)
The Southern Oregon University Percussion Ensemble
Terry Longshore, director & soloist
Bryan Jeffs, conductor
30, for twelve percussionists, was composed for my wife on the occasion of our 30th anniversary. It consists of three intersecting, ten-minute long pieces that can be played separately or simultaneously:
The First Decade (for percussion solo)
The Second Decade (for percussion quartet)
The Third Decade (for percussion septet)
The challenge was to make three pieces that could work independently or in any combination. A further aspiration was to create pieces of variable technical demand—in inverse relationship to their personnel size.
30 is comprised of The First Decade, The Second Decade, and The Third Decade played simultaneously.
The First Decade is scored for a symmetric, stereo setup: identical instruments for left and right hands, each side amplified via highly directional microphones in order to emphasize its panning. Both sides consist of six instruments: high and low glass bottle; high and low cowbell; and high and low woodblock. The pitches and timbres of the instruments on the left match those of the right. This duplicate setup allows for peculiar panning effects: an instrument may appear to hocket across the stereo field; or rapidly alternating lower/higher siblings may suddenly give way to oscillations between cross-side cousins.
The Second Decade is scored for four percussionists, each playing bass drum, concert toms, congas or bongos, snare drum, log drum, and suspended cymbals. The quartet is also charged with the task of executing choreographed hand gestures accompanied by vocal hissing sounds.
The Third Decade comprises ten continuous episodes, each scored for a set of like timbres. The players transition one at a time from episode to episode, thus effecting a crossfade—a tranquil, undulating, metamorphosing landscape. The instruments employed in each episode are as follows:
I. Vibraphone; almglocken; crotales; grand piano; chimes; glockenspiel; children’s handbells.
II. Automobile brake drum; glass bowl; frying pan; triangle; dinner bell; prayer bowl; finger cymbals; reception desk bell; Tibetan finger cymbals; glass wind chimes; bicycle bell; hand crank music box; bell plate; coins dropped into a small metal bowl.
III. Water dripping onto an overturned pie pan and into a basin of water; struck and swirled steel bowl and metal bicycle bottle partially filled with water; bloogle (corrugated plastic tube, swung in the air to produce whistling harmonics); water gong; musical saw; spring doorstop; super ball mallet dragged across a large tam-tam; flexatone; lion’s roar; metal ruler “boing”; sheet of galvanized steel; bubbles slowly blown into a beverage through a wide straw.
IV. Audubon bird squeak; hanging sheet of aluminum foil; sand paper blocks; wire brush dragged on a tam-tam; tin can stirred with a chopstick or knitting needle; thundersheet; paper to be torn and crumpled.
V. Fourteen different shakers.
VI. Seven rolls of duct tape.
VII. Bubble wrap; castanets; claves; bamboo wind chimes; manual typewriter; marbles or polished stones dropped into a ceramic mug; sticks and small branches to be broken/snapped.
VIII. Fourteen “click” ballpoint pens.
IX. Pairs of stones to be tapped.
X. Vibraphone; almglocken; crotales; grand piano; chimes; glockenspiel; children’s handbells.
30 is dedicated with tremendous gratitude to Terry Longshore whose generous friendship, dedication, and artistry have been a beacon for years. It was co-commissioned by an extraordinary consortium of individuals and ensembles, creative and intrepid percussion friends throughout the world:
Terry Longshore, Southern Oregon University Percussion Ensemble (lead commissioner)
Mike Truesdell, Lawrence University Percussion Ensemble, Wisconsin; Dane Richeson, director
Vanessa Tomlinson, Ba Da Boom Percussion, Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University, Australia
Michael Rosen, Oberlin Conservatory, Ohio
Scott Ney, University of New Mexico
James Campbell, University of Kentucky
Andrew Bliss, University of Tennessee / nief-norf Project
Aiyun Huang, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
Joseph Pereira, University of Southern California
Nick Terry, Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, California
Tomm Roland, University of Nebraska, Omaha
Morris Palter, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
Shane Reeves, Francis Marion University, South Carolina
Eugene Novotney, Humboldt State University, California
Joseph Perez, Glendale Community College, Arizona
Ivan Manzanilla, University of Guanajuato, Mexico
Mark Goodenberger, Central Washington University
Sean Connors, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point/Amphion Percussion
Brett EE Paschal, Lewis & Clark College, Oregon
John Lane, Sam Houston State University, Texas
Steven Schick, red fish blue fish, University of California, San Diego
Bryan Jeffs, conductor
Recorded by Sean McCoy, Oregon Sound Recording, at BrokenWorks Productions, Ashland, Oregon, October 9 & 11, 2014, and the Southern Oregon University Music Recital Hall, October 14, 2014. Production Assistance: Joseph Howe.
Financing of this project supported by: Southern Oregon University President’s Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity Grant; and the Southern Oregon University Inter-Club Council.
Artwork by Philip Blackburn & Mark Applebaum.
Special thanks to: Terry Longshore, Bryan Jeffs, David Humphrey, Craig and Katherine Muir, Philip Blackburn, and Yamaha Percussion for the loan of their prototype Impact Bass Drums.
Mark Applebaum, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Composition at Stanford University. His solo, chamber, choral, orchestral, operatic, and electroacoustic work has been performed throughout North and South America, Europe, Australia, Africa, and Asia, including notable commissions from the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, the Fromm Foundation, the Kronos Quartet, the Spoleto Festival, and the Vienna Modern Festival. Many of his pieces are characterized by challenges to the conventional boundaries of musical ontology: works for three conductors and no players, a concerto for florist and orchestra, pieces for instruments made of junk, notational specifications that appear on the faces of custom wristwatches, works for an invented sign language choreographed to sound, amplified Dadaist rituals, a chamber work comprised of obsessive page turns, and a 72-foot long graphic score displayed in a museum and accompanied by no instructions for its interpretation. His TED talk has been seen by more than one million viewers. Applebaum is also an accomplished jazz pianist and builds electroacoustic sound-sculptures out of junk, hardware, and found objects. He serves on the board of Other Minds, and at Stanford he is the founding director of [sic]—the Stanford Improvisation Collective.
Terry Longshore is a percussionist based in Ashland, Oregon whose genre-crossing work exhibits the artistry of the concert stage, the spontaneity of jazz, and the energy of a rock club. He performs nationally and internationally as a soloist and ensemble member, and can be heard on numerous CD and motion picture recordings. He has premiered and recorded countless works by a variety of composers, and collaborates with many artists working in diverse media. Longshore is a Yamaha Performing Artist and an artist endorser for Zildjian Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks and Mallets, and Remo Drumheads, and is a member of the Black Swamp Percussion Education Network. He holds bachelor’s degrees in business administration from California State University, Fresno and percussion performance from California State University, Sacramento, and earned the master’s and doctoral degrees in contemporary music performance from the University of California, San Diego. He is Professor of Music at the Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University.
Bryan Jeffs is a Southern Oregon based percussionist, educator, and composer. He graduated from Southern Oregon University with bachelor’s degrees in music performance and education. He earned his master’s degree in percussion performance at California State University, Sacramento. Jeffs currently serves as Music Department Coordinator at Rogue Community College and an adjunct faculty member at Southern Oregon University. He has composed numerous works for percussion, several of which can be heard on recordings of the SOU Percussion Ensemble. Jeffs is a member of the Black Swamp Percussion educator network and an educational artist for Remo drumheads and Vic Firth sticks and mallets.