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Percussion Ensemble | Piano | Wind Ensemble
Score for wind ensemble by Michael Lasley
Percussion 1 (xylophone, bells, chimes)
Percussion 2 (brake drum, cowbell, shaker, suspended cymbal, crash cymbals, temple blocks, triangle)
Percussion 3 (4 concert toms, bass drum, crash cymbals, suspended cymbal, tam-tam, hi-hat)
Though Gate to Heaven is structured as a three-movement concertino for solo marimba, strings, and percussion, it has extra-musical inspiration. Each movement of the work reflects the movement of the soul into the portal of heaven. The first movement, titled “Remission,” is indicative of death and the consequences of the soul’s former life. From the onset of the first movement, the introduction captures the hard blows of death and the mysterious passage into the unknown world beyond. The ensuing presto is representative of the tribulations of the former life fluctuating between evil and ecstasy. The second movement, “Reflection,” is a solemn look into the past life of the soul and suggests mixed emotion about the former life of the soul as a human form and its present state as energy moving through the infinite universe. Mournful bowed passages in the marimba toward the end of this movement are followed by a passage that builds to a rather joyous resolve that perhaps suggests the golden light of the portal of heaven at the end of the tunnel of transition. The final solemn strains of the movement represent the soul’s final reflection upon its former life. “Redemption,” the final movement, hopefully invokes whatever image one has of heaven. It was the composer’s intention to paint a musical image of golden light shining upon a rainbow-colored landscape. The movement is comprised of two alternating themes, the first energetic and full of sparkle and the second dramatic and full of splendor. Toward the end of the movement, a fragment of the reflective theme of the second movement is heard before the work drives to a joyous conclusion.
Gate to Heaven was originally scored for solo marimba and a 10-piece percussion ensemble as part of a multi-university consortium commission. It appears here scored by Nathan Daughtrey for solo marimba, string orchestra, and 3 percussionists. The string version received its premiere by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Robert Gutter with Michael Ptacin as the marimba soloist in May of 2005.