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Joshua Colson - Senior Recital

25 April 2011

Bliss Hall 2222, 8PM

Presented in partial fulfillment of the Bachelor of Music in Music Education degree

King of Denmark (1964)                                                                                  Morton Feldman (1926-87)

         “The draft score was created in a single afternoon in August 1964 on the beach at Coney Island, a popular destination for a daytrip by New Yorkers. The distant noises of life on the beach inspired Feldman to compose a soundscape using only percussion instruments.

         In 1959 Stockhausen had composed “Zyklus for a percussionist”… The soloist places a great number of instruments in a circle enclosing him, according to a plan by Stockhausen. During the performance, the player slowly turns, clockwise or anticlockwise, as he chooses, and executes one of the possible cycles of the composition. It is a most impressive and virtuoso act, one could almost say “expressionistic”.

         Feldman knew this work,  as it was performed in New York by the percussionist Max Neuhaus shortly after its completion. He called his own new percussion work “the American answer to ‘Zyklus’ ”.

         As so often with Feldman,  American visual art also played a significant role here. Around 1950 Jackson Pollock created a series of pictures of a new kind, including “Number 32”, “One” and “Autumn Rhythm”. His manner of creating them was new and unusual. Pollock removed the canvas from the easel (or from the wall which served him as an easel), and put it on the floor. Instead of applying the paint to the canvas with a brush, he squeezed it straight out of the tube onto the canvas, or he would let the paint drip onto the canvas from a stick, after having dipped it into a bucket of paint. During this action, seemingly almost dance-like, a dense net of gestures, lines, spots, splatters and complex formations slowly developed on the canvas lying on the floor, covering it completely. Some of Pollock’s “actions” were documented for future generations by the photographer and filmmaker Hans Namuth.

         Feldman removed from the hands of the percussionist what had until then been the most important means of sound production – sticks and mallets – and had him produce the sounds with his fingers, hands or arms. This was in my opinion a revolutionary musical act. The invariably soft sounds now produced had a completely different quality. Feldman called it “silent resistance”, both in relation to Stockhausen’s expressivity (and here it should be mentioned that Feldman admired Stockhausen’s first eleven “Klavierstücke”) as well as in relation to all the noisy music of the world.

Feldman chose the title of his work with great care: During the German occupation of Denmark in the Second World War, the Danish King wore the yellow Star of David on his coat, as Danish Jews were forced to do by the Nazis. It was this above all that Feldman interpreted as “silent resistance”. In this way, his work “The King of Denmark” acquires a political dimension never articulated as clearly in any of his other works.”

            ---Notes by Eberhard Blum


Two Mexican Dances (1974)                                                                                 Gordon Stout (b.1952)

The first Mexican Dance was originally the ninth etude from Etudes for Marimba, Book 2. Warren Benson thought that the character of the music of the first dance was very different from the rest of the etudes of Book 2. He suggested that I remove it from that collection, write a second piece in a similar style, and call them Two Mexican Dances. Thus the dedication of the two pieces to Warren Benson.  So I didn't think of the first dance as being Mexican. I had never been to Mexico at that point in my life. Warren Benson however, heard something that made him think that. The first dance was composed in one day, with no revisions or changes. The second dance was begun on vibes, and took much longer to compose.

                                                                        ----Gordon Stout


Clean it up, please (1998)                                                                                          Robin Engelman

“When I was asked to write a snare drum solo for HoneyRock, I had two immediate and pleasant realizations:  I’d be composing my first drum solo in thirty-five years and I would be able to submit a personal appreciation for a style of music unfamiliar to many “post calfhead drummers”.  Although “clean it up ---please” is a rudimental renaissance in terms of my solo writing, I have written a fair amount of ensemble music for fifes and drums. 

My interest in rudimental drumming and the music for fifes and drums comes primarily from one meeting with Patrick Cooperman at his home in New York City in 1976.  Patrick had not yet started his own drum company and was selling fifes, drum straps, sticks, and Eames drums from his basement.  The drums were not assembled – their separate parts stashed wherever space permitted – and my initiation to the world of rope drums began as Patrick put together what was to become my drum.  He selected a shell, skin heads, counter hoops, snare strainer, and a seemingly endless length of rope which tied it all together.  The piece-de-resistance was his demonstration of the rat’s tail knot, which keeps the tension on the rope, and the knot for the excess rope, or drag.

Patrick took me upstairs where we sat on his living room floor with a drum pad.  For about an hour he showed me his style of drumming.  He told me where to get books important to the history and music of the drum and within a few weeks I was looking at Bruce and Emmett’s “The Drummer’s and Fifer’s Guide,” the first North American drum method in modern notation (1862); a modern reproduction of Baron Friedrich Wilhelm Ludolf Gerhard Augustin Von Steuben’s “Regulations,” referred to as the “Blue Book,” it was the guide for discipline in Washington’s Continental Army; and “The Carroll Collection” by Drum Major George P. Carroll, FCMH.  Carroll has for years, been publishing reprints of old drum and fife manuals and collections of period fife tunes with historical notes.  A Canadian by birth, he helped establish The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps of the 3rd United States Infantry in 1960.  One of Carroll’s major contributions has been the deciphering of arcane notations found in early drum methods.

The history, research, composition and performance of music for fifes and drums has provided me with countless hours of enjoyment.  A particular pleasure has been meeting rudimental drumming experts, experiencing their artistry, and sharing with them the pleasures of this style of drumming.

                                                                        ----Robin Engelman


Saëta (1950)                                                                                                   Elliot Carter (b. 1908)

Elliot Carter was one of the first well known composer to create solos for timpani.  In 1950, he released Eight Pieces for Four Timpani.  Each piece calls for extended technique.  “Saëta” uses metric modulations, which is a change from one tempo and time signature to another while a note value from the first tempo is made equivalent to a note value in the second.  A Saëta is actually an ancient religious Spanish mourning song usually performed during Lent and sometimes Christmas.  It is mostly known for its strong display of emotion.


Xylophonia (1925)                                                                                              Joe Green (1892-1939)

Xylophonia was published in 1925 by the Leedy Manufacturing Company as a xylophone solo with piano accompaniment. Although it was written in the 1920's, Xylophonia is something of a throwback to the style of xylophone solos from the previous two decades.  It is basically a ragtime march, and avoids the elaborate cross-rhythms and sticking techniques popularized by Joe’s brother, George.  This simplicity, however, is part of its charm, and the Trio is a classic stop-time chorus.

                                                                        ----Notes by Bob Becker



         Joshua Colson is a senior music education major at Youngstown State University’s Dana School of Music.  Born and Raised in Transfer Pennsylvania, Josh has studied percussion under the direction of Mr. Mazzocco, Mr. Fleet, and Mr. Swiegard before graduating from Reynolds High School where he performed in the concert Band, Jazz Band, and Marching Band.  He also performed with the Centurions, a local Baton and Drum Corp., and Surge, a percussion ensemble that he created to fulfill his senior project.

            At Dana, Josh has studied under the direction of Dr. Schaft,  Rob Ferguson, Josh Ryan, and Nathan Douds.  He has performed with the Marching Pride, Concert band, Wind Ensemble, and Percussion Ensemble.  Josh is also an active brother of the Phi Mu Alpha Fraternity and sings tenor with the Men’s Choir.

            Josh would like to extend his thanks and appreciation to his family, friends, and teachers for their endless support.

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