Video of Mvts. I & III
Matt Jordan (Middle Tennessee State University)
The Concerto for Marimba is a commission by a consortium of schools and performers headed by Professor Marc Wooldridge of Northwestern College, Orange City, Iowa.
The work exploits the full range of the technical and expressive ability of the five-octave concert grand marimba. It is cast in the standard three-movement format. The first movement uses sonata-rondo form and begins with a slow introduction and quasi-cadenza by the marimba. An animated first theme follows in G-minor accompanied by clarinets and tambourine. A contrasting second theme area follows featuring chromatic mediant progressions and descending chromatic lines. The return of the first theme utilizes a slightly different accompaniment. The development section reworks all the thematic material in different guises. The recapitulation presents the first theme, verbatim, as it was in the exposition. The second theme, however, changes the mode to major. The return alternates the marimba on the theme with the winds playing the theme in augmentation. The marimba quietly ends the movement with an ascending and descending arpeggiated passage.
The second movement is a chaconne with eight variations. The marimba states a rather haunting chorale-like melody in Bb minor. The first variation features the low brass on the chaconne theme with the marimba on the variation. Variation II uses marimba, clarinet, bells, and vibraphone and Variation III uses marimba, oboe, and horns. Cascading muted brass against the augmented chaconne theme in the flutes and clarinets are indicative of Variation IV. Variation V changes the slow pace to fast using marimba, brass, timpani, and bells. A haunting Variation VI utilizes bowed marimba on the chaconne theme accompanied by piano and bells. Variation VII features the low brass on the chaconne theme against triplets in the upper brass. Rolled arpeggiated chords highlight Variation VIII along with a solo alto saxophone on the second half of the variation. A somber coda brings the movement to a close.
The third movement, like the first, is in sonata-rondo design and is cyclic, bringing back and combining the thematic material of the first and second movements. The first theme, in D-minor, is angular and spirited, accompanied by clarinets and tambourine (reminiscent of Mvt. I). The second theme brings back the second theme of the first movement followed by the return of the first theme, now accompanied by saxophones and tambourine. The development combines and works thematic material from all three movements of the concerto. The recapitulation begins with the bassoons on the first theme, followed by the horns/trumpets and finally, the marimba. The second theme brings back the chaconne of the second movement, this time in major with the marimba accompanying using rhythmic material taken from the first theme of the third movement. There is no formal return of the first theme. Instead, the marimba plays a cadenza in which the first theme material and the second movement chaconne are developed. A galloping presto (coda) follows, ending the movement in D major.
- David R. Gillingham
PRAISE FOR THE CONCERTO
"The new Concerto for Marimba by David Gillingham is an intriguing, engaging, and challenging piece. I had so much fun playing it and I am planning to perform it everywhere!! It is a "must-try" for all marimbists!" She-e Wu
world-renowned solo marimba artist
This piece was commissioned by a consortium of schools and private individuals organized by Marc Wooldridge of Northwestern College (IA). The consortium members are listed below in alphabetical order.
Air National Band of the Northeast, Milford, MA, Thomas Carmichael
Apple Valley High School, Apple Valley, MN, Eric Strom, Corey Desens
Brigham Young University-Idaho, Rexburg, ID, David L. Taylor, Diane Soelberg, Christopher Dupuis
California State University, Fresno, Gary P. Gilroy, Matthew Darling
Central College, Pella, IA, Stanley E. Dahl, Evan Feldman, Mitchell B. Lutch
Concordia College, Moorhead, MN, David P. Eyler, Scott Jones
Community College of Southern Nevada, North Las Vegas, NV, Richard McGee
Raymond Dandurand, Somers, CT
Friends University, Wichita, KS, John W. Taylor, Matthew Maholland
Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, MN, Robert Adney, Douglas Nimmo
Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois, Stephen K. Steele
Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, Barry Larkin, Michael Golemo
Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, Frank Tracz
Knightwind Ensemble, Milwaukee, WI, John Steinke
Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN, Reed Thomas
Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS, Elva Kaye Lance
Missouri Western State University, St. Joseph, MO, Jeffrey Hinton
Morehead State University, Morehead, KY, Richard Miles
Michael C. Muncher, Birmingham, AL
Northwestern College, Orange City, IA, Marc Wooldridge, Timothy McGarvey
Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, Pamela J. Nave, Diana Day
Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Weatherford, OK, James South, David Bessinger
The University of Akron, Akron, OH, Robert D. Jorgensen, Larry Snider
The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, Gene Fambrough, Sue Samuels
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Pembroke, NC, Tracy Wiggins, Timothy Altman
The University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD, Darin Wadley, Stephen Sudduth
VanderCook College of Music, Chicago, IL, Charles T. Menghini, Stacey L. Larson
Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI, Robert Spradling
The world premiere performance of this work was given on November 10, 2006 by Marc Wooldridge, marimba soloist and the Northwestern College Symphonic Band under the direction of Timothy McGarvey.