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“This Is the World” by David Maslanka


“This Is the World” by David Maslanka

Performed by the CanAm Piano Duo
Karen Beres & Christopher Hahn, piano
with Lance Drege & David Steffens, percussion

Mallet Selection for this Piece:


Orchestral Series (M32)

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This line offers a rattan handled mallet for every dynamic range on vibraphone or marimba. Cord wound heads.


Orchestral Series (M142)

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Very hard phenolic. Small head for brilliant and pointed sounds on bells.


THIS IS THE WORLD we know, the world of air and breathing and sun and beating hearts
The overall feeling of THIS IS THE WORLD is one of quiet awe at the nature of our world, both the planet on which we live, and the amazing web of life that if supports – not only that but its place, and our place in the universal web of life, the jeweled “net of Indra.”

I.  The Nighthawks painting of Edward Hopper is his iconic contribution to American Culture.  It is one of the favorite paintings.  It captures something absolutely fundamental about the American experience, and that is expressed probably more by the architecture of the picture – the amazing collection of shapes, and the relationship of light to dark, especially the overwhelming darkness – than by the unspoken “story” of the diner and the people in it.  My music expresses some aspects of my own take on the “story,” especially the hidden life in the blank windows of the building in the background, but my overall composition is, as well, a parallel to Hopper’s life-long preoccupation with shapes and light.  He managed to convey powerful unspoken human and universal elements through abstract forms.

II.  The very sweet melody and luminous harmonies of Do You Know My Name? touch me in a very hard way every time I play through this music.  The melody is derived very loosely from the Bach Chorale On the Fortieth Day After Easter.  The titleDo You Know My Name comes with no further explanation…

III.  Out of the Blue grows out of the Chorale melody Christ is Risen.  This melody has an inexpressible mystery in it for me, and I have used variations of it in several other compositions.  Out of the Blue suggests the sudden arrival of something surprising – in this case a luminous joy.

IV.  The Closer You Get the Stranger the Stars Look began as a whimsical pastel drawing that I made some years ago.  The stars are square (!), one is a Cheshire cat, one has “a message for you,” and one has horns and fangs.  This quiet and whimsical music suggests a deep listening to one’s innermost self.

V.  Let it Be embodies yet another Chorale melody, Lord, Do Not Be Angry With Me.  The music is a deep prayer for peace within, peace with others, peace with our beautiful world, and the emergence of our lives as children of the universe.
– David Maslanka


David Maslanka was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1943. He attended the Oberlin College Conservatory where he studied composition with Joseph Wood. He spent a year at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, and did masters and doctoral study in composition at Michigan State University where his principal teacher was H. Owen Reed.

Maslanka’s music for winds has become especially well known. Among his 40-plus works for wind ensemble and band are Symphonies 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, and 9, 12 concertos, a Mass, and many concert pieces. His wind chamber music includes four wind quintets, two saxophone quartets, and many works for solo instrument and piano. In addition, he has written a variety of orchestral and choral pieces.

David Maslanka’s compositions are published by Carl Fischer, Inc., David Maslanka Publications, Kjos Music Company, Marimba Productions, Inc., the North American Saxophone Alliance, OU Percussion Press, and TrevCo Music, and have been recorded on Albany, Reference Recordings, BIS (Sweden), Naxos, Cambria, CRI, Mark, Novisse, AUR, Cafua (Japan), Brain Music (Japan), Barking Dog, and Klavier labels. He has served on the faculties of the State University of New York at Geneseo, Sarah Lawrence College, New York University, and Kingsborough Community College of the City University of New York, and since 1990 has been a freelance composer. He now lives in Missoula, Montana. David Maslanka is a member of ASCAP.


Karen Beres and Christopher Hahn have been presenting innovative programs of duet and two-piano repertoire as the CanAm Piano Duo since 2002.  In recital, they create a stimulating musical experience through innovative programming, lively audience interaction, and musicianship and precision of the highest caliber.  The CanAm Piano Duo won the silver medal at the 2008 International Chamber Music Ensemble Competition in Boston, and received a distinguished ranking at the 2009 IBLA Grand Prize competition in Ragusa, Italy.  As avid proponents of contemporary music, Karen and Christopher perform a varied repertoire of new works and masterpieces of the twentieth century alongside more traditional works for the genre.  The CanAm Piano Duo is frequently engaged to present recitals, master classes and workshops in the United States, Canada and Europe, including the World Piano Conference in Serbia, and the Classical Music Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria.  They are also extensively involved in music education and have been recognized for their motivating programs for students of all ages.

Visit them at www.canampianoduo.com for more information.

An associate professor in the School of Music at the University of Oklahoma, Lance Drege directs the percussion program, teaches applied percussion, conducts the OU Percussion Orchestra, and teaches other percussion related courses.  He is presently completing his twenty-fourth year on the faculty at OU. From 1997-2002, Dr. Drege also served as Assistant to the Director for the School of Music.  Prior to coming to OU, Drege taught public school instrumental music in Hobart, OK and Elk City, OK. Drege has been a member of the percussion section of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic from 1989-1999 and has held the Principal Timpanist chair since that time. A staff member of the Classical Music Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria, Drege plays principal tympani in the festival orchestra in addition to his administrative duties.  He has twice served as the Oklahoma State Chapter President for the Percussive Arts Society, is a past recipient of the Presidential Distinguished Educator Award.

David Steffens is currently Professor of Percussion at Oklahoma City University’s Bass School of Music and Principal Percussionist of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic Orchestra.  He holds the Bachelor of Music degree from Central Michigan University, the Master of Music degree from Michigan State University, the Performer’s Certificate and Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Eastman School of Music – University of Rochester. Dr. Steffens has been Principal Percussionist of the Midland Symphony, Principal Timpanist of the West Shore Symphony Orchestra, a member of the Greater Lansing Symphony and the Schlossfestspiele Heidelberg Germany. He is a founding member of the Robert Hohner Percussion Ensemble and can be heard on several internationally released compact discs on the Digital Music Products recording label and the Albany records label. He is a regular performer with the Lyric Theater Company of Oklahoma and numerous nationally touring Broadway shows. Dr. Steffens also has served as percussion artist/faculty for the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute and the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp.

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