The Concerto No. 2 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.
ABOUT THE PERFORMER:
Dr. Brad Meyer (www.Brad-Meyer.com) is a percussion educator, artist, and composer with an extensive and diverse background. Currently, Brad is the Director of Percussion Studies at Stephen F. Austin State University (Nacogdoches, TX) where he directs the percussion ensemble, steel band (“Jacks of Steel”), and teaches private percussion lessons. Dr. Meyer frequently tours to universities and high schools both nationally and internationally to present recitals, workshops, masterclasses, and clinics on various topics, including: electro-acoustic percussion, contemporary marimba, concert snare drum, marching percussion, percussion ensemble, steel band, and world music. His international performances and clinics have taken him to Austria, Taiwan, France, South Africa, and Slovenia. Brad has been an active presenter/performer at numerous festivals and conventions, including: Texas Music Educators Association’s national convention, Percussive Arts Society’s International Convention, International Computer Music Conference, Society for Electroacoustic Music in the United States’ Convention, New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, Graz’s (Austria) Night of Percussion, Chiayi’s (Taiwan) International Band Festival, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis’s Intermedia Festival, and Transylvania University’s Studio 300 Festival. Dr. Meyer was also a faculty member at the prestigious and historic Interlochen Arts Camp in 2015. Brad is a composer with several compositions for snare drum, multi-percussion, and percussion ensemble published through Bachovich Publications. Dr. Meyer is a proud endorsee of Yamaha Instruments, Zildjian Cymbals, Vic Firth Stick and Mallets, Evans Drumheads, and Tycoon Percussion.
Brad serves as the secretary to the Texas Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society and is on PAS’s Health & Wellness Committee. Dr. Meyer was a member of the PAS Technology Committee (2010-2014) and Vice President of the Kentucky Chapter of PAS (2011–2013). Dr. Meyer was the Visiting Instructor of Music in Percussion/Percussion Ensemble Director at Centre College (Danville, KY) in 2011–2012 and was the Adjunct Professor of Percussion at Tennessee Technological University (Cookeville, TN) during the fall of 2011. Brad completed his Doctor of Musical Arts in Percussion Performance and Pedagogy of Music Theory Certificate in the Spring of 2011 under James Campbell at the University of Kentucky, where he also graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Performance in 2006. Along with his studies at UK, Brad was the Wildcat Marching Band’s percussion director, UK Steel Band/Blue Steel coordinator, and percussion studio lesson instructor. He received his Master of Music Performance Degree under the direction of Dr. Scott Herring at the University of South Carolina, where he ran the Palmetto Pans, arranged and coordinated the USC drumline, and debuted his first percussion ensemble composition, Your Three Favorite Colors.
In 2010, he was the pit manager for the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps, and before that he was the front ensemble caption head of the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps in 2009, where he was as a front ensemble technician for the two years prior. His extensive training in the core percussion instruments (snare drum, keyboard, timpani, drum set, multi-percussion) as well as world music, particularly on the Caribbean steel pan, Korean P’ungmul, mbira (Zimbabwe finger piano), Joropo maracas, and both Javanese and Balinese gamelan has provided a global perspective for his performances and research areas. From 2002-2005, Dr. Meyer was a part of The Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps’ front ensemble, where he accumulated one world championship, three “high-drum” trophies, and three “outstanding service” awards.