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PE - 11/4/15 - St. John’s

Youngstown State University Percussion Ensemble

Dr. Glenn Schaft and Ed Davis, Directors

4 November 2015 

 St. John’s Episcopal Church, 8PM



Three Brothers (1951)                                                        Michael Colgrass (b. 1932)

Three Brothers is a jazz work for nine players: three soloists and six accompanists. This was Colgrass’s first composition, prior to which he had only improvised. In his words, “Three Brothers is a drum solo that I had been developing for five years as a jazz drummer and soloist.” The title is inspired by Woody Herman’s 1940’s composition Four Brothers, which featured four saxophonists.” Notes by Glenn Schaft



Western Sketches (1949)                                                    Robert Kreutz (1922-1996)

I.               Horse Thief

II.             Noble Prarie

III.           Rodeo

This work was the first major piece that Kreutz wrote for marimba and was premiered by the James Dutton Marimba Ensemble at the American Conservatory in Chicago.



Highlife (1988)                                                                                 Phil Faini (b. 1931)

Phil Faini taught percussion at West Virginia University for 40 years, the last ten serving as Dean of the College of Creative Arts, where he retired as Dean Emeritus in 2000. He has long been involved in the development of percussion ensemble literature, composing and arranging numerous works for the medium, ranging from popular, jazz, and ethnic music of East and West Africa, to the standard classical literature. Allan Teel comments, “Faini's Highlife is a work for Western concert percussion instruments based primarily on a composition for gyil, a xylophone of the Dagara and Lobi cultures of northwestern Ghana. Faini's composition also uses materials taken from traditional Ghanaian drum ensemble music.” Notes by Glenn Schaft



Ogoun Badagris (1976)                                           Christopher Rouse (b. 1949)

Ogoun Badagris was written by Christopher Rouse for the Ithaca College Percussion Ensemble in Ithaca, New York. In the composers words, Ogoun Badagris derives its inspiration from Haitian drumming patterns, particularly those of the Juba Dance. Hence, it seemed logical to tie in the work with various aspects of Voodoo ritual. Ogoun Badagris is one of the most terrible and violent of all Voodoo loas (deities) and he can be appeased only by human blood sacrifice. This work may thus be interpreted as a dance of appeasement. The four conga drums often act as the focal point in the work and can be compared with the role of the four most basic drums in the Voodoo religion - the be-be, the seconde, the maman, and the asator. The metal plates and sleigh bells are to a certain extent parallels of the Haitian ogan. The work begins with a brief action de grace, a ceremonial call-to-action in which the high priest shakes the giant rattle known as the asson. Then the principal dance begins, a grouillere: this is a highly erotic and even brutally sexual ceremonial dance which in turn is succeeded by the Danse Vaudou, the point at which demonic possession occurs. The word “reler”, which the performers must shriek at the conclusion of the work, is the Voodoo equivalent of the Judaeo-Christian “amen.”




Minuano (1987)                                           Pat Metheny (b.1954) & Lyle Mays (b. 1953)

“The Minuano is a cold wind that blows in the South of Brazil and in Uraguay.” Minuano (Six Eight) is also the title of a tune played by the Pat Metheny Group and recorded on their 1987 album Still Life (Talking).



Clapping Music Variations (2006)              Glenn Kotche (b. 1970) Steve Reich (1932)

Clapping Music Variations is a musically and intellectually intriguing exploration of the rhythmic motives of Steve Reich's composition "Clapping Music" (1972). Reich’s work is composed for two performers, one clapping a constant rhythmic pattern and the other progressively displacing the same rhythm by shifting the pattern by one eighth-note to create various rhythmic counterpoints. After experimenting with Clapping Music as a practice exercise for two hands, then all four limbs on the drumset, Kotche developed an arrangement using numerous percussive textures, including melodic percussion to highlight the rhythmic interplay of Reich’s rhythms. Notes by Ed Davis and Glenn Schaft


IV for Percussion Nonet (1935)                                          Johanna Beyer (1888-1944)

Johanna Magdalena Beyer was born in Leipzig on July 11, 1888. She was a major figure in the experimental music movement of the 1930s. Beyer worked closely with other composers of her time, such as Henry Cowell and Percy Grainger, in an attempt to create a new aesthetic in music. In addition to composing, Beyer was an active poet. Sadly, much of Beyers life and work have been drowned in a shroud of obscurity resulting in much of her music and poetry being overlooked or lost all together. Notes by Christopher Kimble



The Doomsday Machine (2000)                                                    Michael Burritt (b. 1962)

The Doomsday Machine is named for an episode from STAR TREK, my favorite science fiction series. The “Doomsday Machine” is an enormous weapon, both in size and strength, left adrift in space. The war machine was capable of destroying whole planets and was discovered, of course, by Captain Kirk and his crew. The Enterprise ultimately conquered the “Doomsday Machine” by feeding it another star ship set to self-destruct. My “Doomsday Machine” is meant to be an aurally and visually captivating work that explores a multitude of wood, metal, and membrane sounds in an explosively energetic dance.  Notes by Michael Burritt.



Noah Au, Canfield, OH,

Charles Battaglia, Warren, OH  

Edward Butcher, Salem, OH

Zachary Connolly, Boardman,OH  

Levi Curry, Wexford, PA

Jesse DeLorenzo, Wampum, PA  

Anthony Gill, Vienna, OH,

Joel Gillespie, East Liverpool, OH,

Aaron Graneto, Canfield, OH,  

Sean Guerrieri, Struthers, OH,  

Andy Hacker, Hubbard, OH

Ryan Jones, Youngstown, OH

Evan McCreary, Poland, OH

Nathan Negro, Wooster, OH

Lennon Sackela, Canfield, OH

Tommy Starr, Pittsburgh, PA

Anthony Tresky, Pittsburgh, PA

John Guido Vitullo, Austintown, OH


Glenn Schaft and the YSU Percussion Studio wish to thank Avedis Zildjian Cymbal Co., Remo Inc, Innovative Percussion Inc., and Black Swamp Percussion for their support

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